On these pages, I recently asked for prayer for Uwe and Hannelore Romeike. The Romeikes, an evangelical couple from Germany, wanted to homeschool their six children in Germany as they had grave concerns that the German public schools taught 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, because the Romeikes homeschooled 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. In 2010, Judge Lawrence O. Burman reasonably and appropriately granted political asylum in the U.S. for the Romeikes based upon the evidence presented to him and the appropriate legal standard. However, Secretary Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security appealed Judge Burman’s ruling arguing that German laws banning homeschooling do not violate the family’s fundamental human rights, and she withdrew the family’s asylum status. (I suppose she didn’t want to open the floodgates to homeschooling Christian asylum seekers.) In late April, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on appeal from the Romeikes.
Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama Administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family. 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. (Of course, you might not know that from the more than thirty million illegal immigrants currently living in the U.S.) Nevertheless, the court of appeals did acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution recognizes the rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children (whew!), but then refused to concede that the harsh treatment of religiously motivated homeschoolers in Germany amounts to “persecution.” (I suppose it has to be something more pernicious than merely significant fines, imprisonment, and the loss of custody of the children. Perhaps the judges expected harsher treatment more akin to Iranian or North Korean legal and judicial standards?)
I am certain that the appellate court’s decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court, which typically hears fewer than 100 cases each year. However, my suggestion is that the Romeikes can easily disappear into one of many “sanctuary” cities (which include the President Obama’s adopted home city of Chicago), where they can find “appropriate” documents any early morning at a local home improvement center, live openly, and teach their children as they see fit. Please continue to keep the Romeike family and their litigation team in your thoughts and prayers. And if you wish to assist the family in a more tangible way, please contact Michael Farris from the Home School Legal Defense Association at 540.338.5600. If the Obama Administration wins this effort, your rights as a parent are at risk.