I suppose that it is common knowledge that our nation is a sieve with many millions of illegal immigrants living here openly, and not as some have contended “in the shadows.” It seems to me that our nation’s present immigration laws are mostly ignored, or, even worse, selectively enforced. (Recent events in Boston highlight this fact.) For a number of years, I have volunteered in a legal aid clinic for the poor in my community, and have seen how many illegal immigrants know how to “game” the system for their financial benefit. As one example that is mostly unknown to readers of my blog, the Internal Revenue Service knowingly allows illegal aliens to claim children (whether fictitious children or those living in foreign countries) in order to obtain Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”) cash payments of up to $5,891 per tax filer. The General Accountability Office (“GAO”) estimates that 23 percent to 28 percent of EITC payments of $55.7 billion in 2011 are issued improperly every year. How could such a thing happen? The IRS issues taxpayer identification numbers (“ITIN”) to people who lack valid Social Security numbers because they are not authorized to work in the United States, but then ITINs can be used to make EITC claims. A 2010 government audit found that 72 percent of tax returns filed by persons using ITINs, rather than Social Security numbers, claimed the EITC. Anyway, that is just one example, but if you ask any illegal alien, they can fill you in with much more information and other examples.
But that prologue, it brings me to Uwe and Hannelore Romeike. The Romeikes, an evangelical couple from Germany, wanted to homeschool their six children in Germany. The parents had grave concerns that the German public schools teach non-Christian values. Homeschooling in Germany, banned continuously since the Nazi era, is the only European nation where homeschooling is banned outright. As a result, if the Romeikes continued to homeschool their children in Germany, they faced significant fines, imprisonment, and the loss of custody of their children. As a result, the family fled to the United States in 2008, and applied for asylum. Under current immigration law, “persons who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion” are eligible for asylum in the United States. In 2010, an immigration judge reasonably and appropriately granted political asylum in the U.S. for the Romeikes. However, the Department of Homeland Security now claims that German laws banning homeschooling do not violate the family’s fundamental human rights, and are seeking to withdraw the family’s asylum status. (What would have happened under this Administration if the Romeikes were a foreign homosexual or lesbian couple seeking to homeschool? But I digress.)
On Tuesday, April 23rd, the Romeikes’ appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will be heard for oral arguments. If their appeal is denied, then the family will be sent back to Germany, where the parents face jail time, more fines, and the loss of custody. Of course, if I were a cynic, one could easily surmise that under the Obama Administration, all illegal immigrants can be granted privileges afforded to American citizens and legal residents, but homeschooling Christians from other countries are beyond toleration in our society. Why might a cynic say that? Because it is very dangerous to this government for you to educate your children as you see fit. Please pray for the Romeikes, and that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will come to a just conclusion based upon law, and not merely upon a political agenda dressed in legal jargon. If the Obama Administration wins this effort, your rights as a parent are at risk. And that is not merely a cynic’s view.