Photo source: AP
The Romeike family has for years been battling for the right to educate their children as they see fit. Today, the United States government has denied their request.
Originally from Germany, Evangelical Christians Uwe and Hannelore Romeike wanted to homeschool their six children, but it is against the law in Germany. They faced threats of legal action from the government and crippling fines before choosing to immigrate to the United States in 2010, seeking political asylum.
U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman granted the Romeike’s request, but it was overturned in 2012 by the Board of Immigration Appeals, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement challenged the decision.
Today, in the words of the Home School Defense League Association, which has represented the family: "The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama Administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family."
The parents could face jail time if forced to return home.
The Romeike family. (Photo source: AP)
The ruling essentially states that "the Romeikes [have] not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group."
The compulsory attendance laws -- and related punishments if violated -- apply to everyone, and therefore this isn't a case of persecution, they say.
"The United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment, even treatment that our laws do not allow," the ruling explains.
Read the full text of the ruling, below:
Michael Farris, the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which has been representing the family, commented in a press release: “We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and we will appeal their decision...America has room for this family and we will do everything we can to help them.”
Mike Donnelly, HSLDA's Director of Internal Affairs, added: "Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers. 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.”
TheBlaze spoke with Peter Kamakawiwoole, one of the staff attorneys at the HSLDA, who said the family is "obviously disappointed, but they've had a tremendous amount of peace about this all throughout."
"They're very grateful for the outpouring of support," he added, "and we're going to continue to fight this."
Regarding their future actions, Kamakawiwoole said they are planning to file a petition to have the entire 9th circuit re-hear the case, and if that fails, they'll appeal to the United States Supreme Court. In all likelihood, this means the legal battle will continue for many months.
He also took some time to break down the legal ruling, and the potential ramifications for religious freedom.
"If the government were to pass a general law precluding everybody from practicing a particular religion, obviously that's persecution. Under this ruling, that kind of law would not be persecution [because it applies to everybody equally]," he said. "That's unfortunate, because it's not impossible to imagine any number of minorities, religious or social, facing legislation where they were legislated out of participation in society if the law is worded the right way."
The Romeike family has appeared multiple times on TheBlaze TV, and Glenn Beck has donated $50,000 to their legal defense.
Watch one of their interviews with Beck, below:
This post has been updated.
- ‘There Is Nothing More Un-American Than This’: Beck’s Interview with the Lawyer Representing Homeschooling Family’s Fight to Stay in the U.S.
- Obama Admin. Trying to Deport German Evangelical Family Seeking Asylum Over Homeschooling
- German Homeschooling Family Facing Deportation Speaks Out on TheBlaze TV: ‘This Is Home for Me Now’