"As societies build walls of separation between communities,
ICAAD works to remove each brick to illuminate our common humanity"

Project Sheridan: Providing Due Process for Asylum Seekers

Individuals feeling violence and persecution in their homeland were detained in a federal prison upon arriving in the United States and asking for asylum.  ICAAD and the Innovation Law Lab provided legal counsel and other services and helped secure the release of nearly 80 asylum seekers. They will now be able to apply for permanent asylum and have their cases heard in immigration court 

In July 2018, 124 individuals fleeing persecution and violence arrived in the United States seeking asylum, and were instead detained and transferred to a medium-security federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon.

This diverse group of people represented 13 countries (including Central America, India, Mexico, and Nepal) and a wide variety of faiths, including Evangelical Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and those not identifying with a faith.

They were fleeing persecution for a variety of reasons including political persecution (e.g. one individual was targeted after converting another party’s members to his political party), and religious persecution (e.g. individuals from minority religions were targeted in their local communities and faced violence).

Lawyers representing asylum seekers report that very few of their clients are passing the very first step in the asylum process, the initial screening interviews that would allow them to stay in the US to apply for asylum. Those rejections consequently set them up to be deported without trial.
“Everyone is getting denied” . . . Right now, the main battleground in the Trump administration’s ongoing war on asylum is in the interview rooms.”
ICAAD Intervention
In partnership with Innovation Law Lab, ICAAD:
    • Conducted legal screenings to understand the needs of the asylum seekers and connect them with family

    • ICAAD directly represented 13 asylum seekers from multiple countries during their Credible Fear Interview. All were released from detention and allowed to seek permanent asylum

    • ICAAD also coordinated with sponsors for other asylum seekers, obtaining documentation for bond hearings

Many thanks to all the donors who helped support the effort!
Stephen Manning, Founder, Innovation Law Lab with Jaspreet, Co-Founder of ICAAD


This Civil Rights and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’d like to challenge you to reflect on how fear may have influenced your opinions, especially of others, and to take a step towards the courage to overcome those fears. Why the focus on fear you might ask?

Famed marketer and author Simon Sinek in his book “Start with Why” outlines six typical manipulations used in sales and marketing, one of which is the use of fear. On fear, Sinek says, “When fear is being employed, facts are incidental. Deeply seated in our biological drive to survive, that emotion cannot be quickly wiped away with facts and figures.”

In the current political atmosphere, in the U.S. and around the globe, fear is often used by politicians and campaigners to polarize debates and to demonize marginalized communities, using them as scapegoats for the real economic, social, and political challenges that societies face.

Martin Luther King, Jr. understood how important fear is, so much so that he gave a sermon on it named “Antidotes for Fear.” It’s worth reading in its entirety, especially because it recognizes the importance, necessity, and creativity of fear (kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-xiv-mastery-fear-or-antidotes-fear). However, particularly pertinent section was highlighted by King’s wife Coretta Scott King in her book “My life with Martin Luther King, Jr”:

“First Martin spoke of the many kinds of fear that troubled men and women in this period of change and "calamitous uncertainty"— fear of illness or economic disaster, fear of personal inadequacy in our highly competitive society. More terrible was the fear of death, even racial annihilation, in this atomic age, when the whole world teetered on "a balance of terror . . . fearful lest some diplomatic faux pas ignite a frightful holocaust."

"Some fears are normal and necessary," he said, like the fear of snakes in a jungle, but when they become neurotic and unchecked, they paralyze the will and reduce a man to apathy or despair. He quoted Emerson, who wrote, "He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear."

How, then, to overcome fear? First, Martin said, "We must un-flinchingly face our fears . . . this confrontation will, to some measure, grant us power. . . . "Second, we can master fear through one of the supreme virtues known to man— courage . . . courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”"

MLK Coretta Scott King Simon Sinek
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