In an interview with Breitbart News, William Estrada, Director of Federal Relations of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), said that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has taken the lead in the Senate to draft a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, urging him to allow the Romeike family asylum in the United States.
Estrada said that Rubio has joined with Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Tim Scott (R-SC) to move ahead with a letter that will complement one that has already been sent to Holder from members of the House. Led by Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), a coalition of 27 congressmen have signed a letter urging the Department of Justice to rescind an order to deport the Romeikes.
“Sens. Rubio, Blunt, and Scott have all been very supportive,” said Estrada. “This is a family seeking freedom in this country–they are true pilgrims. These are the kinds of people we want to welcome in this country, those who value freedom.”
The Romeikes were granted asylum in 2010 by Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman after fleeing their native Germany where they were subjected to criminal prosecution for homeschooling their children, a practice which is largely illegal in Germany. However, Judge Burman’s decision was overturned by the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012. Represented by HSLDA, the Romeikes appealed the decision, but a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit issued a unanimous decision against the family on April 23rd.
On May 28th, Michael Farris, founder and chairman of HSLDA, filed an appeal to the entire 15-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit. Farris states that the brief for the appeal “focuses considerable attention on the fact that the [three-judge] panel never mentions the German high court’s admission that Germany’s ban on homeschooling is motivated by the desire to suppress religious and philosophical ‘parallel societies.'”
In addition, Farris asserts, “The panel also never mentions that the German government targets homeschoolers in order to prevent ‘the damage to the children, which is occurring through the continued exclusive teaching of the children of the mother at home.'”
“It’s one thing to enforce truancy laws because a child refuses to go to school,” said Farris. “It’s another thing to force children to go to school because the German government doesn’t want religious or philosophical parallel societies to exist.”
HSLDA also initiated a White House petition that has received nearly 125,000 signatures, urging the Obama administration not to deport the Romeike family.