A few news outlets picked up on a story which nearly turned out very badly for one family who came to America seeking a particular type of freedom. Uwe and Hannelore Romeike brought their six offspring to the United States because they wanted the choice to home school their children, a decision which could have cost them dearly back home. But after initially being granted asylum, the system seemed prepared to send them back.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike came to the United States in 2008 seeking political asylum. They fled their German homeland in the face of religious persecution for homeschooling their children.
They wanted to live in a country where they could raise their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs.
The Romeikes were initially given asylum, but the Obama administration objected – claiming that German laws that outlaw homeschooling do not constitute persecution.
On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the Romeike’s appeal – paving the way for the Christian family of eight to be deported.
Up until now, I had never heard about the Germans banning home schooling, to say nothing of the threat of having children removed from the home if they were not enrolled in the public education system. Apparently, though, this is a real problem which many families are dealing with. Unfortunately, it seems that the threat of having your seized by the state doesn’t constitute persecution in some corners of the country and it seemed as if the Romeike family would be sent back to Germany to face their fate.
But, as Deroy Murdock reports at The Corner, there was a last minute glimmer of hope.
The Romeikes can stay in America.
Just yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by this German family of home schoolers. They had been fighting the U.S. Justice Department, which labored to revoke their political asylum status and send them back to Germany, where home schooling is illegal. Talk of the Romeikes’ imminent deportation cast a pall over Americans who cherish individual liberty and human rights.
Just a day later, according to Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the Romeikes’ attorneys, “a supervisor with the Department of Homeland Security called a member of our legal team to inform us that the Romeike family has been granted ‘indefinite deferred status.’”
“This means that the Romeikes can stay in the United States permanently (unless they are convicted of a crime, etc.),” Farris said.
While there are many internal battles going on – and with good reason – I think we tend to forget sometimes just how many freedoms we enjoy in the United States, even when some of them are under attack. In many areas of the country, parents still have the choice as to how to educate their children. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should take them for granted. Even now, the new Mayor of New York City has taken it upon himself to essentially declare war on school choice, sending many of the city’s most promising students from economically disadvantaged areas back to the failing school systems they struggled to escape.
Welcome to America, Romeike family. Here’s to hoping it remains worth the trip.