The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has verbally informed the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) that the Romeike family, German homeschoolers who sought legal asylum in the United States, has been granted indefinite deferred action status, which means that the order for their removal from the United States will not be acted upon.
As Breitbart News reported Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court had denied the Romeike family’s petition for certiorari, or review. According to a press release Tuesday by HSLDA, however, news of the Supreme Court’s denial sparked “an immediate and unprecedented reaction.” Fox News informed HSLDA that it recorded one million page views of the story about the Romeike family within 24 hours – an all-time high.
“We are happy to have indefinite status even though we won’t be able to get American citizenship any time soon,” said Uwe Romeike. “As long as we can live at peace here, we are happy. We have always been ready to go wherever the Lord would lead us – and I know my citizenship isn’t really on earth.”
“This has always been about our children,” Romeike continued. “I wouldn’t have minded staying in Germany if the mistreatment targeted only me – but our whole family was targeted when German authorities would not tolerate our decision to teach our children. That is what brought us here.”
HSLDA Director of International Affairs Michael Donnelly observed that the only reason the Romeike family had to come to America was because of Germany’s repressive policy towards homeschoolers.
“Germany’s persecution of homeschooling parents continues and is one reason, I suspect, that DHS was willing to grant the family indefinite status,” Donnelly said in the press statement. “How could our country send this loving, peaceful family back to be crushed by outrageous fines, criminal prosecution, and the loss of their children?”
In November, the Supreme Court had ordered the Department of Justice to respond to HSLDA’s petition on behalf of the Romeikes. Prior to the high court’s order, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals had denied asylum to the family after the Obama administration appealed an earlier decision by a U.S. immigration judge who had granted the Romeikes political asylum.
Before fleeing to the U.S. in 2008, the Romeike parents had been threatened with thousands of dollars in fines and possible jail time in Germany because they chose to homeschool their children. Germany’s highest court has asserted that its ban on homeschooling is designed to ensure that religious homeschoolers do not become a “parallel society.”
“HSLDA is determined to continue working in support of beleaguered homeschooling families in Germany and other countries,” said Donnelly. “The right of parents to decide how their children should be educated is a fundamental human right. The United States got it right in this case, and we call on Germany to change its policy so that parents in Germany can homeschool their children in peace.”
“Our entire family is deeply grateful for all the support of our friends and fellow homeschoolers and especially HSLDA,” said Romeike. “I thank God for his hand of blessing and protection over our family. We thank the American government for allowing us to stay here and to peacefully homeschool our children – it’s all we ever wanted.”