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Asylum Denied: A Refugee's Struggle for Safety in America Hardcover – May 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520255100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520255104
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,064,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Astonishing in its power to move and inform, this fluent first-person narrative, a collaboration between a young Kenyan political refugee, Kenney, and his stalwart American attorney, Schrag, depicts the flaws and corruption at the heart of the U.S. asylum process. Kenney fled Kenya in 1995 after being arrested and nearly executed for leading a peaceful protest against the government's treatment of his fellow tea farmers; he survived torture and escaped to America where he was plunged into an incomprehensible and hostile immigration system. Kenney and Schrag's dealings with the Department of Homeland Security and federal immigration courts reveal a system that is disquietingly random. Applicants are victims of refugee roulette, their fates largely dependent on the sympathies of the government officials who hear their cases. Schrag's recommendations to make the system more consistent and compassionate give the book—and Kenney's heartbreaking story—an added sense of purpose and real practical potential. Kenya's recent political implosion lends this book added topical relevance, but its core concerns for justice and reform remain directed at American society, especially (though not only) its byzantine asylum system. (May)
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Review

“Reminds us of the persecution that refugees face, takes our collective conscience and shakes it to the core.”
(Financial Times 2008-05-05)

“Astonishing in its power to move and inform. . .Its core concerns for justice and reform remain directed at American society.”
(Publishers Weekly 2008-03-24)

“A dismaying account of bureaucracy at its red-tape-bound worst. . . . Wrenching human drama”
(Kirkus Reviews 2008-03-21)

“A model of polished prose and informed advocacy .”
(National Catholic Reporter 2008-05-01)

“Reads like a suspense story.”
(America Magazine 2008-10-13)

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
This books goes on to tell the story of David Kenney Ngaruri and his struggle in staying in the USA.
Pam
I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone interested in Global Studies, Justice Studies, Law, Immigration, or simply for pure reading enjoyment.
hsanchez
So, just make sure you have time to read the book because once you pick up, you will not be able to put it down.
Orlando Trejo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sara Gates on May 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For those of you looking for a good summer read to take to the beach, or just a great book to snuggle up with on a rainy day, I highly recommend opening up the pages of Asylum Denied. It is both informative and inspiring as it tells the story of David Kenney Ngaruri, the political asylee who struggled to stay in America. Although the book is currently being passed around law schools, as the new go-to-guide for asylum law, I am sure it will not be long before it makes the bestseller stands at nation-wide bookstores or grabs a spot on Oprah's booklist. Asylum Denied, written by two authors, the above-mentioned David Kenney Ngaruri and Philip Schrag, the professor of law at Georgetown University, serves both as a law manual and as a heart-warming story of adventure, perseverance, and love. Unlike most law-related books, it reads very smoothly and catches your attention from the first page. Even if this is not the usual type of book you read, I urge you to give it a try. If the face on the cover of the book is not enough to convince you to read it, then I hope this review will.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Babit on April 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book for my Immigration Law class at school, and to my surprise, I really enjoyed the book. Before I read the book, I was afraid that it would be a boring book about the technicalities of an individual's application for asylum, the process, and the outcome. Although that may be one accurate summary of Asylum Denied, the book actually has more substance and story to go along with the bare asylum application process than I expected. I really liked how the book began with vivid descriptions of Jeff's ordeal in a water cell. It was disturbing and confusing because the reader does not yet know why he's there at this point, but it is the perfect opening to the book that hooks in skeptical readers like me. I forgot that I was reading a book for a law school class. Instead, I was just reading a really good book because I wanted to.

The book did not disappoint me after the initial opening scene. It continued to tell the life story of Jeff, which I found interesting and gripping, giving me a sense of who Jeff is and how he would later end up in a situation where he needed to apply for asylum in the US. Notwithstanding the title, this book is really about the whole life of Jeff, not just his application, and subsequent denial, of asylum. I was supposed to read this book with immigration law in my mind, but I could not help but be engrossed in the story and hurried through the pages describing the substantive law and the asylum process, slowing down only when the pages turned back to the story. I did however pay attention to the retelling of the oral arguments in the 4th circuit, only because I found the judges so obtuse that I was infuriated.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alice Grace on June 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is an eloquent and heartbreaking tale of one immigrant's journey throught the U.S. Immigration system. It reads like a John Grisham novel although the story is sadly true. The author, a 7-foot tall Kenyan, was a political prisioner in Kenya for his role as a labor organizer. He faced imprisonment and torture and was ultimately able to escape Kenya via the promise of a basketball scholarship in the United States. In his quest for political asylum in the U.S. he encouters heartless judges,corrupt officials, State Department bureaucrats, a beautiful "witch", kidnapping rebels, interpid law students and a dedicated and brilliant law profressor (his co-author). I couldn't put it down and felt a mixture of outrage at the U.S. immigration system while in awe of the power of the human spirit to overcome the most dauting of odds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lenni B. Benson on May 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I found the book a moving story of David Kenny's trials in establishing his right to remain in the U.S. But more than a story of asylum, it is a story of optimism as David Kenny, his wife, family, and legal team work together to find a way to prevent him from harm in his native Kenya. There were many emotional scenes in the book and I found myself impressed by David's open spirit and his devotion to his friends. The love story within the book is also funny, spunky and inspiring. David's narrative let's use see parts of America very clearly from our assumption that all Kenyan's can play basketball to how many people have personal hand guns and are not afraid to display them proudly--a display that shocks people from nations where guns are only in the hands of the government or the criminals.

The book is very frank about the complexity of the law and the obstacles that prevent many immigrants, even those with attorneys, from securing legal status in the U.S. Many people are critical of our legal system and wonder why more people don't have legal status. Perhaps reading this book will help them understand how difficult the legal and bureaucratic hurdles can be. I am an immigration law professor and hope to use this book in teaching but I recommend it to anyone with an interest of the amazing journeys modern day refugees make.

David Kenney and Phil Schrag have opened many windows into the world of law and the emotional experience of law's rigidity.
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