1776 Productions Full Review

  • What do a Chinese man seeking asylum, a thirty-five-year-old surfer who was brought to America when he was one-year-old, a young asthmatic whose parents moved to the US before he was born, and a victim of Saddam Hussein’s torture chambers have in common? They all suffered at the hands of our immigration system.

    In Show Trials, Afrasiabi tells of these people and more, giving names and stories to the many immigrants who struggle through our system. By focusing on real people, he engages the reader’s interest and sympathy. Many Americans believe that we should send illegal immigrants back to their countries of origin, but very few would be able to say the same of a man whose country wants to execute him for orchestrating a peaceful protest. Afrasiabi uses his experience as an immigration lawyer to personalize the immigration issue.

    However, he does a lot more than simply weave sad tales. He uses these stories to point out larger issues in the immigration system. Specifically, he discusses problems with the way immigration judges are appointed, the immigration laws themselves, the way children (both citizen and non-citizen) are treated, the lawyers working for the government, and the lack of lawyers working for the immigrants. He provides a thorough analysis of all the system’s failings, illustrating each with examples.

    As a lawyer working in both property and immigration, Afrasiabi also contrasts the examples of immigration cases with examples of property cases. He thus shows how it is easier to deport people, to drastically change and potentially end their lives, than it is to take someone’s property. Presenting cases in this way highlights the injustice at hand. Why can an intellectual property case be appealed multiple times to various courts, but an immigration case cannot?

    After showing all the flaws in the system, Afrasiabi concludes with proposed solutions. All of his answers seem plausible, and some only require reversing laws, returning things to the way they once were.

    In this book, Afrasiabi fully describes a failed system, its effect on real people, and how it can be fixed. He is not asking for all immigrants to be allowed to stay. He is only calling for the immigration system to provide justice, and his call is extremely effective. I highly recommend this book to every American. It is essential that we know what is occurring in courts across our country.

    Star Rating: 5 out of 5

    Show Trials: How Property Gets More Legal Protection Than People in Our Failed Immigration System
    By Peter Afrasiabi
    Envelope Books, $20.00, 246 pages, Format: Trade

    1776 Productions, September 2012

© 2012 Peter Afrasiabi. All rights reserved.