Since the mid 1990s third sector professionals and organisations have come under increasing pressure to help enforce restrictive and punitive policies toward refugees and asylum seekers. This paper presents one response, using an empirical case study to develop a new ‘Independent Anti-Racist Model’ for asylum rights organising. This uses data from a three-year study comparing four organisations in a major city in England. The study data is combined with reflections on the author’s own experience as an active participant in the case study organisation, contextualized in the literature. The paper identifies a related set of features distinguishing this model from other types of organisation and the conditions making it possible and concludes that this model offers wider lessons for work with groups in a conflictual relationship with the state.