A group of 27 congressmen have written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that he grant a German family asylum after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied them safe haven in the United States.
The Romeike family immigrated to the United States from Germany in 2008 after they faced increasing fines and the threat of losing custody of their children for homeschooling their children according to their Christian beliefs. An immigration judge in Memphis, Tenn., granted the family asylum.
The Obama administration appealed that ruling and the Board of Immigration Appeals overturned the immigration’s judge’s decision. The family appealed to the 6th Circuit, which upheld the board’s decision.
The congressmen ask Holder to grant the family asylum, effectively overturning the 6th Circuit’s decision.
"A decision to deny the Romeikes the opportunity to educate their children freely is a decision to abandon our commitment to freedom. Doing so would put America alongside those countries that believe children belong to the community or state. A country founded on freedom should stand for the fact that they belong to their parents," the congressmen, led by Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R., Ind.), wrote in the letter.
"As Americans, we have an obligation to stand with those who seek freedom. The Romeike family should find a welcoming home in the United States," they wrote.
The Romeikes are currently appealing the 6th Circuit’s decision by requesting an en banc hearing before the entire 6th Circuit.
However, the court rarely grants this kind of request, said Mike Donnelly, a lawyer with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is representing the family.
If the 6th Circuit denies an en banc hearing, the Romeikes will appeal to the Supreme Court, Donnelly said.
Donnelly expressed hope for the family, but was also deeply frustrated with the courts and administration.
"It appears that the courts and the administration are out of touch with a lot of people," he said.
The administration and the courts have moved away from America’s founding principles, Donnelly said.
The letter is "a wonderful affirmation of what American stands for," Donnelly said.
There is an effort among some congressmen to introduce legislation that would help the Romeike family, Donnelly said, although he could not provide any more details.
The Justice Department did not return a request for comment.