It does seem that Germany still has retained some of its old bad habits. On these pages I have written about the plight of Uwe and Hannelore Romeike. The Romeikes, an evangelical couple from Germany, wanted to home school their six children in Germany as they had grave concerns that the German public schools taught non-Christian values. In Germany, homeschooling has been banned continuously since the Nazi era. It is the only European nation where homeschooling is banned outright. Because of their homeschooling, the Romeikes 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 (God bless Judge Burman!) granted political asylum in the U.S. for the Romeikes. Former (it sounds so good to refer to her as “former,” but I digress) Secretary Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) appealed Judge Burman’s ruling, arguing that German laws banning homeschooling do not violate the family’s fundamental human rights, and DHS withdrew the family’s asylum status. In late April, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on appeal from the Romeikes, and then upheld the Obama Administration’s reversal of asylum granted to the Romeike family. (The appellate decision is available here.) So, now without intervention by Attorney General Holder or new DHS director, the Romeike family faces deportation back to Germany.
To add greater apprehension for the Romeike family, there were some troubling recent events in Germany regarding another homeschooling family. Dirk and Petra Wunderlich’s four children, ages 7 to 14, were taken forcibly from their home in Darmstadt early one morning last week by a battalion of twenty police, special agents, and social workers as the children began their morning classes. The court order, signed by the aptly-named Judge Koenig of the Darmstadt family court, authorized the immediate seizure of the children by force. Judge Koenig declared that the failure by the parents to cooperate “with the authorities to send the children to school” permitted the use of force against the children. The judge found that the children had “adopted the parents’ opinions’ regarding homeschooling and that no cooperation could be expected” from either the parents or the children. The sturmtruppen then took the children to unknown locations, and German officials promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children anytime soon. So there you go. End of story.
In an interview describing the terrible events of that morning, Mr. Wunderlich said the following:
I looked through a side window and saw many people, police and special agents, all armed. They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it. The police shoved me into a chair and wouldn’t let me even make a phone call at first. It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children. At my slightest movement the agents would grab me, as if I were a terrorist. You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. It was like a scene out of a science fiction movie. Our neighbors and children have been traumatized by this invasion.
As one can imagine, in the aftermath of the Nazi era, Germany is a party to numerous human rights treaties. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26(3) states that parents have a “prior right” over the government to choose their children’s education, and recognizes the right of parents to provide an education distinct from government indoctrination schools. But with regard to homeschoolers, German human rights treaties appear merely to be a suggestion. So, as a public service to our German Christian brothers and sisters who home school, I would urge you to get out of Germany as soon as possible before the sturmtruppen come looking for you and your children. You can easily come to the U.S. if you hold a German passport as Germany participates in the visa waiver program. But you will need to file for an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This form is not a big deal, and approvals are made within days. (However, please check the rules regarding your children’s passport (“Kinderreisepass”)). Technically, under the visa waiver program, you are permitted to remain in the US for up to 90 days, but once you are in a big city (preferably one that is controlled by the Democratic Party, such as New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago), the policy regarding illegal immigrants is essentially don’t ask, don’t tell. Otherwise, you can come to Mexico, and then make their way north to the U.S. border where you can apply for asylum. But please remember that you have to assert a certain talismanic incantation at the border that you have a “credible fear of drug cartels.” Of course, this is a completely rational fear, and media reports in both the US and Mexico have confirmed that asylum requests from those arriving from Mexico have increased 260 percent in the past year with most of the so-called “asylum seekers” using those specific words. At that time, you will be given a hearing date, but often, no one shows up for the asylum hearing. And of those who are not in DHS custody, no more than a few percent were ever deported. But now, when the German family has entered into the United States, one of the parents becomes the “primary provider” for the minor children. As a homeschooling German, this should not be a major leap, and you can simply relax and enjoy your new American home. This is because a new Obama Administration directive issued on August 23, 2013, now applies to you. This directive instructs Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officials not to enforce immigration laws in cases where an illegal alien is the primary provider for any minor child, regardless of the child’s immigration status. (In case you think I am making this up, you can read the new ICE directive here.) So, while it might be too late for the Wunderlich family at this time, other German homeschooling families can still save your children. Sure, my readers and I may think that this is a foolish and irresponsible way to run an immigration system. We may also not like the fact that Mr. Obama and his allies selectively enforce (reshape?) immigration (and other) laws to suit preferred policy whims. Although Mr. Obama abuses his constitutional authority and violates his oath of office to faithfully execute the laws, that doesn’t mean that German Christian homeschooling families shouldn’t enjoy warm American hospitality. (Some of you will remember the sanctuary movement from the 1980s. Perhaps it is time for our churches to restart a sanctuary program to provide shelter, food and other material goods, and legal advice for these victims of German government oppression.) So, this will be our little secret, and my public service to our German homeschooling friends and brethren. Please pray for the Wunderlich family, and particularly the children who cannot help but be terrified under these circumstances.