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Asylum Denied: A Refugee's Struggle for Safety in America

Asylum Denied: A Refugee's Struggle for Safety in America
Author: David Ngaruri Kenney - Philip G. Schrag
ISBN 13: 9780520261594
ISBN 10: 520261593
Edition: 1
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2009-08-17
Format: Paperback
Pages: 360
List Price: $29.95

"Asylum Denied is riveting and essential reading for anyone interested in the lives and struggles of immigrants. Kenney's story will astonish, frustrate, and inspire you."—Dave Eggers, author of What is the What

"This is a fabulous book-a love story, a law story, a struggle against death, a battle for justice, and much more. I urge you to read it."—Bruce Ackerman, Yale University

"Asylum Denied is at once a page-turner, a penetrating critique of the U.S. asylum system, and an exquisite exploration of humanity and politics, of emotion and law, of tension and release. It has the same narrative power that distinguished Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action."—Hiroshi Motomura, University of North Carolina

"A stirring account of one man's struggle for justice—first with a brutal Kenyan regime bent on political persecution, and then with an American immigration bureaucracy callously indifferent to a compelling case for asylum. This riveting story gives the lie to the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, and calls on all of us to restore the vision of justice and inclusion that it once represented." —David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedom in the War on Terrorism

In Asylum Denied, David Kenney and Philip Schrag bring us a deeper understanding of the vagaries of our asylum process by telling David's riveting story. What society wouldn't be enriched by such stoic, courageous and principled strivers as Kenney? The more we learn of the lives and yearnings of such people, the closer we will be to an asylum process worthy of our values."—Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

"From the horror of political persecution half a world away to the death of a thousand bureaucratic cuts here at home, Asylum Denied is a riveting microcosm of a story that has touched—and scarred—countless victims of mankind's cruelty. And for sheer perseverance under impossible circumstances, Sisyphus could take a lesson from this tale."—Jeff Greenfield, Senior Political Correspondent, CBS Evening News

"This is a powerful story, human and legal. It is as tense as a fictional thriller, but it really happened. The hero battles official torturers in Kenya, then American bureaucrats out of the pages of Kafka." —Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon's Trumpet

"Asylum Denied takes the reader from the dungeons of the Kenyan torture chambers to the labyrinth of U.S. immigration system. It is both a thriller and an educational journey. It leaves you wanting to meet David Ngaruri Kenney, an extraordinary person who ran the immigration gauntlet, learned its secrets, and survived his ordeal."—Richard Boswell, University of California Hastings College of the Law

"This chilling true tale is not only a poignant story about the heroism of an extraordinary Kenyan dissident, but also an exposé of the apathy, incompetence, and occasional outright cruelty that slither away in the darker corners of the immigration bureaucracy. As you read this chilling true tale, you will share the authors' anger, stress, sadness, and unbearable frustration—but be prepared for some surprises."—Stephen H. Legomsky, Washington University School of Law

"Asylum Denied is several things in one enthralling whole: a vivid and moving story of persecution and resilience in East Africa, an infuriating and inspiring story of administrative malfeasance and lawyerly devotion in the U. S., as well as a love story and a reasoned proposal for reform. If there is any justice, the asylum system will be reformed and this wonderful book will be read by everyone who cares about what America is becoming."—Todd Gitlin, Columbia University

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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