Justice Department deporting home schoolers

By Richard Nelson

j

May 16, 2013

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A little covered news story from Tuesday caught my eye.  “Home Schooling German Family Fights Deportation” the headline ran.  Apparently, a German homeschool family, living in Tennessee for the past five years, has lost their appeal for asylum.  Their attorney has vowed to appeal again, but also noted in an interview, “We’re in the seventh inning, and we’re behind.”

The Romeikes decided to homeschool in 2006, desiring to instruct their children with Christian values.  Unfortunately, they lived in Germany, where there is no tolerance for educating children apart from the state approved worldview.  A Nazi era law mandates that all children in Germany attend state controlled or approved schools. The Romeikes were fined thousands of dollars, had their children police escorted to school on one occasion, and, had they remained, likely would have lost custody of their children and been jailed themselves.

In the face of this persecution, they fled to the United States in 2008, and applied for asylum.  It was granted in 2010.  Unfortunately, our Justice Department under Eric Holder decided to appeal the Romeike’s asylum.  The Board of Immigration Appeals overturned it in 2012, and that decision was affirmed this past Tuesday by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.  The Court found the Romeikes did not have a “well-founded fear of persecution,” because the law in Germany was “generally applicable.”  In other words, it was not persecution, because the law applied equally to all kids, not just Christians or homeschoolers.

According to the logic of the 6th Circuit Court, the government would be compelled the deny asylum to the Pilgrims!  After all, the Pilgrims fled England and Holland seeking to teach their own traditions to their offspring, and seeking freedom to worship apart from the “generally applicable” laws of the Church of England.

Aristotle once said, “Children hold our future in their hands,” and it’s clear that a battle is raging for their hearts and minds.  Who will emerge victorious?  That remains to be seen.  One thing is for certain: it has never been a good thing for any government to side with Nazi era laws. Not even the Pilgrims could have weathered the kind of "justice" this administration is dishing out.

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center