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.
Selected for the United Methodist Women's 2012 Reading List (See Links tab for more information)
Introduction by Philip G. Schrag
1. The Farmers’ Boycott
3. Temporary Safety
4. Bernie and Dave
5. My Day in Court
6. Winning the Lottery
7. The Fourth Circuit
8. A Cold Day in Richmond
10. The Witch Arrives
The Lawyer’s Epilogue
The Client’s Epilogue
David Ngaruri Kenney came to the United States after he was persecuted in Kenya. He continues to pursue a career in public service and currently works at the Montgomery County State 's Attorney's Office in Maryland, USA. Philip G. Schrag is Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Applied Legal Studies at Georgetown University Law Center. He is the author of many books including Ethical Problems in the Practice of Law, with Lisa G. Lerman, and A Well-Founded Fear: The Congressional Battle to Save Political Asylum in America.
“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
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