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Family who fled Germany to home-school their kids faces deportation from the U.S.

The Romeike family fled from Germany in order to home-school their children and now faces deportation from the U.S. / Credit: The Romeike Family

Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Sep 26, 2023 / 15:20 pm (CNA).

A German family that has lived in the United States for more than a decade after leaving their home country in order to legally home-school their children faces possible deportation next month, their supporters said.

The Romeikes — father Uwe, mother Hannelore, and their then-five children — fled Germany in 2009 over the country’s severe compulsory education laws, which effectively outlaw home schooling and require all children to attend school outside the home.

The evangelical Christian family has had two more children since arriving in the U.S. and made their home in Tennessee. The couple initially sought asylum from the federal government, claiming religious persecution from German authorities.

They were eventually granted indefinitely deferred action status by the Obama administration, allowing them to reside in the U.S. for more than a decade.

The Home School Legal Defense Association — a pro-home schooling nonprofit that has advocated the Romeikes’ case over the years — said in a release last week that during a recent “routine check-in” with immigration officials they were “told … that they had four weeks to secure passports and return to Germany.”

“The news came without warning, and with no apparent cause or explanation,” HSLDA said.

Kevin Boden, an attorney with HSLDA and the director of HSLDA International, told CNA that it is unclear what may or may not occur at next month’s meeting.

“They were basically given four weeks to come back,” Boden said. “They have a report date in October. They don’t know what is going to happen in that meeting. They don’t know if they’re going to be forced to leave. They don’t know if they’re going to be taken into custody.”

“‘Come back in four weeks and bring your passports,’” Boden added. “That combination is a little bit scary.”

The attorney said HSLDA is continuing to work with the family. The nonprofit group had originally helped litigate the family’s unsuccessful asylum attempt all the way to the Supreme Court; the court ultimately turned down the family’s appeal without hearing it. HSLDA is now pursuing a variety of options to secure the family’s continued status in the U.S.

“We’re working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) through those legal channels,” Boden said. “We’re pursuing a petition to the White House, to the Biden administration.”

The group is also asking supporters to reach out to their congressional representatives to urge support for a bill from Tennessee Rep. Diana Harshbarger that would allow the family to claim permanent resident status.

“Those things would provide some impetus for the Romeikes to stay in the country, or at least give them a little bit of time,” he said.

The Romeikes did not respond to a request for comment. Reached via email, a spokesman for the Biden Department of Justice responded: “We respectfully decline to comment.” ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The two eldest Romeike children have since married U.S. citizens; their eldest daughter, Lydia, has one child with her American husband. The family’s two youngest daughters, meanwhile, are U.S. citizens by birth.

Once a rare practice controlled heavily by state regulation, home schooling in the U.S. has expanded in recent decades due to the efforts of groups like the HSLDA.

It is legal in every state, with HSLDA listing the majority of states as having only “low” or “moderate” home school regulation.

Home schooling in Europe is much more tightly regulated. Many countries there outlaw it entirely, with others allowing it but only under strict guidelines.

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  1. A simple solution: the family should travel to Mexico, change their name to Hernandez, come back across the border and welcomed with open arms.

    The political climate in the USA sucks.

    • Well said. Absolutely stupid that they can come down on this family treatened with deportation when immigrants, illegals, drug cartel members are coming across the border for free. Why is that?? Maybe because they will be voters for the dumbocratic party!!

    • The suggested solution by Deacon Peitler could not be more appropriate and would certainly be successful. What is more, they would have instant access to all the perquesites accorded those, who, unlike the Romeikes, enter illegally and are given every incentive to do so. The plight of the Romeikes, must be put on I.C.E. Shame!

  2. I don’t understand this. Why would a family with passports and legal status be deported? Is it because they sought asylum? That doesn’t make sense to me. Do they have jobs and support themselves in the U.S.? Are they breaking any laws in the U.S.? Thousands of people are coming into the U.S. without any passports or visas, and they are being allowed to remain here. This doesn’t make sense to me. Can someone explain? Thanks!

    • I was wondering about the legal status details also. They’ve been here for quite a few years & seems odd they don’t have a permanent residency established yet. Or perhaps they do & it’s being contested? If this is a political ploy by our current administration that’s really a terrible shame.

    • You’re expecting the Federal government to make any sense? To do the right thing? To not persecute people of faith? To not disdain families which are cohesive and open to new life? Who live their lives without being parasites on the government? Who obey the laws of the country they live in? Really?

      • I have low expectations of our government and if my immigration status was as tenuous as this German family’s I think I’d have been working on a permanent solution over the past decade or so. Or considered moving to Canada.

    • Ron,
      You are saying what I and many others are thinking!!! Maybe have to go to Mexico and come in illegally? Like so many are….Biden is only for those that vote democrat….

    • I hope that’s not the case but either way I don’t think we should interject skin colour into the conversation. That always veers things off in the wrong direction. If this is a political move, shame on our govt. But maybe there are other things going on we’re unaware of.

      • I have no idea what’s behind this but I would imagine if anything was in question it would be ideology. And I hope that’s not the case either.

  3. If anyone doubts that there is a war on all that is good, true, and beautiful, in the USA, please read or share this article. That this law abiding, contributory family would undergo such egregious persecution while identifiable criminal immigrant intruders are known but ignored—if not placated— stuns the psyche.

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