- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The open border so dear to the hearts of many Democrats, eager to get the 11 million illegal aliens on the voter rolls, ends short of compassion for refugees from First World countries, as Uwe and Hannelore Romeike have found out. The administration is working overtime to deport this family because they home-school their children.

The Romeikes fled their native Germany in 2008 after uniformed police officers arrived at their home and forcibly took their children to government-run schools. Home-schooling has been illegal in Germany since 1938, when the Nazis brooked no resistance to state control of everything. The Romeikes were fined thousands for their resistance.

The Romeikes, who say German schools teach subjects that go against their evangelical Christian beliefs, are parents of three boys and three girls, ranging in age from 20 months to 15 years. They live now on a farm in eastern Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains.They sought and were granted political refuge in the United States in 2010, but the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the decision last year, contending that Germany’s ban on home-schooling doesn’t violate the Romeikes’ human rights. The administration essentially says parents have no fundamental right to educate their own children, hence no political asylum.Should the Romeikes be forcibly repatriated, fines are the least of their worries. They could face stiff prison sentences, and their children could be taken away from them.

These factors moved U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman three years ago to let them stay. “It does appear that there is animus and vitriol involved here, that the government of Germany really resents the home-schoolers, not just because they are not sending the children to school, but because they constitute a group that the government, for some unknown reason, wishes to suppress,” Judge Burman wrote.The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case on April 23. Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, represents the Romeikes. “The Obama administration is basically saying there is no right to home-school anywhere,” he told the Fox News Channel. “They are trying to send a family back to Germany, where they would certainly lose custody of their children.”Mr. Farris’ group has opened a petition on the White House website insisting that the Obama administration grant permanent legal status to the Romeikes. The petition has garnered nearly 30,000 signatures to date, and it has just over two weeks left to obtain 70,000 additional names to earn an official response from the administration. This is the chance for home-schoolers to make themselves heard.


The Justice Department argues home-schoolers “lack the social visibility required to constitute a particular social group.” That sounds like code for “they’re not a voting bloc Democrats care about.” The appellate judges should recognize the real threats against the Romeikes and grant them permanent legal status.

The Washington Times