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

By in Emigration & Immigration on February 26, 2013

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Asylum Denied is the gripping story of political refugee David Ngaruri Kenney’s harrowing odyssey through the world of immigration processing in the United States. Kenney, while living in his native Kenya, led a boycott to protest his government’s treatment of his fellow farmers. He was subsequently arrested and taken into the forest to be executed. This book, told by Kenney and his lawyer Philip G. Schrag from Kenney’s own perspective, tells of his near-murder, imprisonment, and torture in Kenya; his remarkable escape to the United States; and the obstacle course of ordeals and proceedings he faced as U.S. government agencies sought to deport him to Kenya. A story of courage, love, perseverance, and legal strategy, Asylum Denied brings to life the human costs associated with our immigration laws and suggests reforms that are desperately needed to help other victims of human rights violations.

2 thoughts on “Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America

  1. Sara Gates "NYU student"
    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A Must Read, May 19, 2008

    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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  2. 2
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A surprisingly good book for a law school class, April 20, 2010
    Babit (California) –

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    This review is from: Asylum Denied: A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America (Paperback)

    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. How could they not understand that it was his state of mind before he left for Kenya that matters and not whether he was actually tortured again when he returned to Kenya that matters?

    I understand that the book was written by Jeff and his lawyer, thus, it would only be natural that readers would sympathize with their story more than they would with the typical asylum applicants. However, the book did do a good job illustrating vividly what a lengthy process application for asylum is, what it entails, the emotions that the people involved can suffer, and what could be at stake for every asylum applicant. This was a really good book to see the law in a real life situation.

    Although I read this book for a class, I would definitely recommend it to others as a pleasure read. Although there are parts of the book that are a little dense (the parts describing the law and asylum process), they are not hard to get through as they are integral to understanding the hardships that Jeff had to go through. Jeff’s story is definitely interesting enough to keep you reading until the end.

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