Protection Denied

Persecuted German family’s asylum application denied by Appellate Court

Romeike family / AP


A Christian family that fled Germany in order to homeschool their children according to their faith was denied asylum on Tuesday by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Romeike family fled Germany in 2008 after receiving heavy fines and the threat of jail time for homeschooling their children, which is illegal in Germany. The family immigrated to Tennessee, where they were able to homeschool their children.

The family filed for defensive asylum in Tennessee, which a Memphis immigration judge granted them. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) division then appealed the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The board overturned the initial judge’s decision last year, stripping the Romeike family of their asylum protection and ordering them to be deported back to Germany.

The Romeikes then appealed the board’s decision to the 6th Circuit of Appeals, which ruled against the family, according to an announcement by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

The 6th Circuit ruled that Germany’s homeschool ban is a general law that applies to all people equally, and therefore does not discriminate against those who homeschool for religious reasons.

"The United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment, even treatment that our laws do not allow," the judges, who decided against the Romeikes unanimously, said in their opinion.

"The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened—something most people would call persecution," said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA director of international affairs, in a statement. "This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany."

HSLDA chairman Michael Farris pledged to appeal the 6th Circuit’s decision to the Supreme Court, according to the statement.

ICE did not return a request for comment.

Andrew Evans   Email Andrew | Full Bio | RSS
Andrew Evans is an assistant editor at National Affairs and a former reporter for the Washington Free Beacon, where he covered government accountability and healthcare issues.

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