Asylum Access

Making human rights a reality for forcibly displaced comminuties

aka Asylum Access   |   Oakland, CA   |  http://www.asylumaccess.org

Mission

We are human rights advocates who support forcibly displaced individuals and communities as they reclaim their rights, agency and power. We aim to create a world where refugees everywhere can live safely, move freely, work, attend school and rebuild their lives. We advocate for a response to forced displacement that honors refugees’ freedom, dignity and autonomy, while also strengthening the communities that welcome them. Our mission is to make human rights a reality for refugees.

Ruling year info

2006

CEO

Sana Ali Mustafa

Main address

C/O Port Workspaces 344 Thomas L Berkley Way

Oakland, CA 94612 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-3642040

NTEE code info

International Migration, Refugee Issues (Q71)

International Human Rights (Q70)

International Economic Development (Q32)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The current refugee response system is not serving anyone. Over 26 million people have been forcibly displaced from their home countries. The system that we’ve used for the last 60+ years to respond to forced displacement is one that’s based on providing people with humanitarian aid that meets their immediate needs while we wait for them to be able to go home. However, today the average time in exile is 20+ years, and that number is rising. Refugees typically are not allowed to work and earn a living, so they can’t feed their families. They’re not allowed to attend school or access national healthcare systems. They’re barred from everything that would allow them to rebuild their lives. These oppressive policies also prevent refugees from contributing their skills and talents to their new country, which in turn deprives host communities of the value they bring. To welcome and include refugees is to improve society for all.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Legal Aid

Our legal advocates support forcibly displaced individuals and communities as they reclaim their rights, agency and power. We help our clients navigate the process to obtain legal status, vindicate workplace rights, access education, healthcare, and financial institutions, and demand equal protection of police and courts.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

We support leaders of forcibly displaced communities to become Community Legal Advisors, so they can provide basic legal advice and facilitate civic engagement within their communities. We also conduct broader Know Your Rights education with forcibly displaced people and their host communities.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

We advocate for changes in law and policy that improve refugees’ access to rights. Working with local governments and UN field offices, we develop and promote solutions to systemic rights violations.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

We establish legal precedents for refugee rights through test cases in local and regional courts. Our strategic litigation works in tandem with our policy advocacy. Ultimately, we aim to reduce the need for legal aid by making refugee rights the norm.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

We are committed to advancing the global refugee rights movement. We have established an effective and sustainable model for change in Africa, Asia and Latin America and our advocates are continually expanding our reach and bringing our services to more refugees every year.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Where we work

Awards

Affiliations & memberships

InterAction - Member 2017

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients assisted with legal needs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Legal Aid

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of participants attending course/session/workshop

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Community Legal Empowerment

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Asylum Access supports forcibly displaced individuals and communities as they reclaim their rights, agency and power. We use a combination of legal aid, community legal empowerment, and policy advocacy to work to dismantle decades of colonialism, fight for self-representation, and build intersectional coalitions to demand human rights for all forcibly displaced people.

Through our legal empowerment, policy change and global systems change programs, Asylum Access advocates for a world where refugees everywhere can live safely, move freely, work, feed their families, send children to school and contribute to their communities.

Legal Empowerment: As human rights advocates, we know the power of the law, which is why we have developed a legal empowerment program that helps refugee individuals, families and communities to understand, use and shape the law. All our legal services are provided at no cost.

Policy Change: And when current laws are not protecting and empowering refugee families, they must be changed. Through our policy change program, we challenge oppressive laws and help draft new laws that work for everyone.
Global Systems Change: To ensure all refugees can meaningfully rebuild their lives wherever they find themselves, we must find new solutions and create a new response. Through our global systems change program, we are advocating for a refugee response system that prioritizes refugees’ human rights and recognizes their power.

OUR GLOBAL APPROACH
Asylum Access is the only global organization dedicated specifically to advancing refugees’ human rights.

OUR LEADERSHIP
We are a family of national organizations in Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia. Our local organizations are led and staffed by nationals and refugees in these countries. There is a strong mutual trust and respect between us and our clients.

OUR FOCUS
On the international stage, we work with established institutions to shift the global system to better uphold and promote refugees’ human rights. We can help catalyze and lead systemic transformation because, uniquely among NGOs in the refugee response sector, we focus exclusively on rights and governance.

OUR EXPERIENCE
Our field experience using legal empowerment and policy change to turn rights into reality provides us with the credibility and expertise to offer pragmatic, effective solutions.

We've reached thousands of refugees with direct legal aid or community empowerment programs, and have helped changed policies that effect over 2 million refugees.

For example, Asylum Access sustained advocacy has helped lead to the following policy changes:

Ending Child Detention in Mexico (2020)
After years of advocacy by Asylum Access Mexico and our civil society partners, the Mexican Congress unanimously approves closing a legal loophole that continued to permit the detention of migrant and refugee children.

New Refugee Legal System in Thailand (2019/2020)
Through our sustained engagement with the Thai government, Thailand is expected to finalize its new refugee legal status system. For the first time, thousands of refugees currently considered undocumented migrants will have legal status in Thailand.

Ending Child Detention in Thailand (2019)
Through our sustained advocacy, including engagement with the government, use of the UN Universal Periodic Review process, strategic litigation, and coalition building, the Thai government officially agreed to end the detention of refugee children in January 2019.

Ecuador Enshrines Refugee Work Rights in its National Constitution (2008)
Asylum Access brought a group of refugees to speak with legislators drafting Ecuador’s 2008 Constitution, sharing the importance of access to work. Ecuador’s constitution now includes equal work rights for refugees and nationals, enabling equitable labor market access.

Malaysian Government Rescues 7,000 Rohingya Refugees Stranded at Sea (2014)
Asylum Access Malaysia met with MPs and urged Malaysian parliament to allow abandoned boats carrying Rohingya refugees to dock on Malaysian soil. If they had not been allowed to dock, the 7,000 refugees would have perished at sea.

Constitutional Court in Guatemala Blocks “Safe Third Country” Agreement with US (2019)
The Constitutional Court in Guatemala cited a document submitted by Asylum Access Mexico in its decision to block the ‘safe third country’ agreement with the US without prior congressional approval. Asylum Access and several partner human rights NGOs submitted a technical note stating that Guatemala does not have the capacity to ensure that refugees can obtain sufficient protection in Guatemala.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Forcibly displaced individuals and families in Thailand, Malaysia, and Mexico through our direct services. Refugee communities in countries proximate to forced displacement through our policy advocacy and global systems change efforts.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In response to feedback that our advocacy efforts should be done in full partnership with refugees as opposed to on their behalf, Asylum Access has made several significant commitments to become more representative of the communities we serve: - By June 2022, Asylum Access will become refugee-led by hiring a new Co-CEO with lived experience of forced displacement. - We have committed by 2026 to 40% of leadership, 60% of our board, and 50% of new hires being people with lived experience of forced displacement. - We also partnered with the Global Refugee-led Network to publish the Meaningful Refugee Participation Guidelines. - Based on feedback, we are also currently authoring guidelines on how international organizations can partner equitably with local and refugee-led organizations.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The feedback we received from our clients and partners on making sure that their voices were heard and fully involved in decision-making has fundamentally changed how we operate as a global organization, especially in the area of policy advocacy and global systems change. For example, we ensure that all policy advocacy efforts are conducted in partnership with local and refugee-led civil society through our Refugee Policy Review Framework (RPRF). We have also partnered with refugee-led organizations in several regional and global advocacy projects, ensuring that our partners have equal say over decision-making, leadership, budgeting, and communications.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

Asylum Access
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Asylum Access

Board of directors
as of 08/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Michael Diedring

European Program on Integration and Migration (EPIM)

Term: 2018 -


Board co-chair

Mohammed Badran

Syrian Volunteers in the Netherlands (SYVNL)

Term: 2020 -

Michael Teshima

Oliver Wyman

Rachel Gordon

Freelance Researcher

Mary Gardiner Huang

LinkedIn

Shalini Nataraj

Ing Foundation

Susan Lieu

Independent Playwright and Performer

Lindsay Toczylowski

Immigrant Defenders Law Center

Leah Zamore

New York University

Joyce Song

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Hany Aziz

Teach for All

Camila Mena

SF Black Wallstreet

Carolina Jiménez

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/19/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Arab
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/25/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.