A human rights framework has become the default approach to framing advocacy for the rights of refugees. However, with the process of refugee resettlement expanding, there is a need for a framework that would help refugee advocates to conceptualize their relationship to the democratic institutions that facilitate and maintain rights-based approaches. Working through Chantal Mouffe’s distinction between liberal and democratic ideals, this article proposes a democratic framework that works as a supplement to a rights framework. The democratic framework orientates advocates towards working with other advocacy groups, media, politicians and the general public. This framework is illustrated through three key points in the efforts of New Zealand refugee advocates to achieve the first refugee quota increase in that country since 1987.