A federal appeal court sided with the Obama’s administration’s decision and ruled against a German Christian family who sought asylum for the “persecution” that they’ve received in Germany for homeschooling their six children.
“We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and we will appeal their decision,” said Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). “America has room for this family and we will do everything we can to help them.”
A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit heard the Romeikes’ appeal on April 23 in Cincinnati, and issued an unanimous decision against the family yesterday. They said that U.S. immigration laws do not grant a safe haven to people everywhere who face “restrictions” that would be prohibited under the Constitution.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike took their six children and fled Germany in 2008 when they were subjected to criminal prosecution for homeschooling.
Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been replaced, but rather strengthened.
The Romeike family, currently residing in Tennessee, was granted asylum in 2010 by Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman, but that status was overturned by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012.
Romeikes homeschooling. (HSLDA)
The court said that the Romeikes had not made a sufficient case and that the United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment. Although the court acknowledged that the U.S. Constitution recognizes the rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, it refused to concede that the harsh treatment of religiously and philosophically motivated homeschoolers in Germany amounts to persecution within our laws on asylum.
The HSLDA, which represented the Romeikes in court, has made a short video posted to its website that shows the Romeikes' six children studying together at a big table and chasing chickens in the yard.
Next to the video is a link to a White House petition on the Romeike's behalf that has gathered more than 123,000 signatures.
Mike Donnelly, director of international relations for the association, said the Romeikes planned to appeal.
“Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers,” said Donnelly. “The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened—something most people would call persecution. This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany.”