In February and March we focused on the Romeike homeschooling deportation case, DOJ seeks deportation of family persecuted in Germany for homeschooling:
The Romeikes are devout Christians from Germany who wanted to homeschool their children because of what they perceived as the secularist agenda in German public schools.
In the United States, the right to homeschool ones’ own children is accepted, although frequently mocked by the left. The homeschoool movement is thriving in the United States, but in Germany it is illegal, a holdover from Nazi-era law.
The Romeikes fled to the United States in 2008 after they faced mounting fines and the potential of imprisonment. The Romeikes sought asylum, and were granted that asylum by Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman in a January 26, 2010 decision after a hearing which included not only the Romeikes but also expert witnesses on homeschooling in Germany….
Judge Burman then went on to contrast the legal protections in the United States for homeschooling, and how the situation the Romeikes faced fared under asylum law. Judge Burman found that there was no past “persecution” as that term is defined in the 6th Circuit, but did find a legitimate fear of future persecution based on religious grounds [and granted the asylum application] ….
The government appealed to the Immigration Board of Appeal, which reversed Judge Burman in a May 4, 2012 decision which contested not only Judge Burman’s recitation of the law, but also Judge Burman’s findings of fact on many issues including the Nazi-era foundation of the current law.
The Romeikes appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, but that appeal was denied in mid-May (full opinion embedded at bottom of post), with the court finding that the Romeikes were not singled out for persecution on religious grounds, as the homeschooling ban was enforced against everyone:
When the Romeikes became fed up with Germany’s ban on homeschooling and when their prosecution for failure to follow the law led to increasingly burdensome fmes, they came to this country with the hope of obtaining asylum. Congress might have written the immigration laws to grant a safe haven to people living elsewhere in the world who face government strictures that the United States Constitution prohibits. But it did not. The relevant legislation applies only to those who have a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 8 U.S.C. § 110l(a)(42)(A). There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law. As the Board of Immigration Appeals permissibly found, the German authorities have not singled out the Romeikes in particular or homeschoolers in general for persecution. As a result, we must deny the Romeikes’ petition for review and, with it, their applications for asylum.
In mid-July a request for rehearing was denied.
The Romeikes have until mid-October to seek review by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, a Petition to the White House not to deport the Romeikes has over 127,000 signatures as of this writing.
I’ll have to leave the next questions to the immigration law experts:
Would the Romeikes have been better off under the Gang of 8 bill and/or Obama administrative policy if they did not apply for asylum, which is a legal route to permanent residency, but instead came here illegally?
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