The United States Supreme Court has denied review in the appeal of the Romeike parents, German homeschoolers who sought and were granted asylum in the U.S. to avoid losing custody of their children in their country, where homeschooling is largely illegal. The Obama administration appealed the decision of the immigration judge who granted the family asylum.
The Obama administration’s appeal of the 2010 decision that granted the family asylum based on religious freedom grounds prevailed on two levels of appeals. The Supreme Court had ordered the U.S. Solicitor General to respond to the Romeikes’ petition.
In a press release, Michael Farris, Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and lead counsel for the Romeikes in the appellate courts, said, “While this is the end of the line for normal legal appeals, we are not giving up.”
Farris also said that there is a clear split in the treatment of human rights standards among federal circuits and that there is confusion among the circuits about how to determine when a law that applies to everyone and doesn’t appear discriminatory can still be used to persecute certain groups.
“We will pursue changes to the asylum law in this country to insure that religious freedom is once again vigorously protected in our policy,” Farris said. “I am just glad that the Pilgrims did not face this anti-religious policy when they landed at Plymouth Rock.”
“The United States should be a place of asylum for those who are persecuted because of their decision to follow their core religious beliefs,” Farris said. “Parents, not the government, decide first how children are educated. Germany’s notorious persecution of families who homeschool violates their own obligations to uphold human rights standards and must end.”
Germany’s highest court has asserted that the ban on homeschooling in that country is designed to ensure that religious homeschoolers do not become a “parallel society.”
HSLDA’s Director of International Relations Michael Donnelly said, “Germany’s clear violations of human rights standards in the area of homeschooling have been going on for over a decade.”
“German authorities recently seized the Wunderlich children and are prosecuting others–seeking outrageous jail terms–just because of homeschooling,” Donnelly added. “Germany’s repression of homeschooling freedom is infecting other European nations, and our country should send a message that the United States will provide a refuge for victims of persecution even from ostensibly free, democratic countries like Germany.”
“These human rights protections were written in response to Germany’s practices in the Nazi era,” Farris said. “It is impossible to distinguish the German desire for philosophical conformity today from that of the 1930s. Children do not belong to any government in any decade.”