White House Responds to Petition for Asylum for Christian Homeschooling Family: No Comment

Romeike FamilyWASHINGTON — The White House responded to a petition on Monday that called for the granting of asylum to a Christian family who fled their homeland of Germany to homeschool their children, choosing not to comment on the matter.

As previously reported, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities demanded that they stop homeschooling their six children. Homeschooling was made illegal in the country in 1938 under the dictatorship of Adolph Hitler, and the law has never been repealed, but rather strengthened. In 2007, the German Supreme Court ruled that the country’s mandate that children be sent to public school is necessary to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

German officials have been cracking down on families that keep their sons and daughters at home, and have threatened them with fines, imprisonment and even the removal of the children from the household. The Romeike children were taken from their parents for a time before fleeing to the United States for refuge.

In 2010, Memphis immigration judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum, stating that he believed the Romeike’s would face persecution for their faith if they returned to Germany.

“[The law is] utterly repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” Burman ruled. “[H]omeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution … therefore, they are eligible for asylum … and the court will grant asylum.”

However,  the United States Department of Justice soon appealed the hearing, and every court has denied the family asylum ever since, asserting that the family is not facing persecution for homeschooling as the requirement applies to all German citizens–not just Christians.

“[T]he Romeikes [have] not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group,” the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this past May. “There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law.”

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In addition to fighting the matter in the courts, the Virginia-based Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) filed an online petition this spring with the White House, urging the U.S. government to grant asylum to the family.

“Every state in the United States of America recognizes the right to homeschool, and the U.S. has the world’s largest and most vibrant homeschool community. Regrettably, this family faces deportation in spite of the persecution they will suffer in Germany,” it stated. “The Romeikes hope for the same freedom our forefathers sought. Please grant the privilege of liberty to the Romeike family.”

The White House responds to petitions that generate a minimum of 100,000 signatures within a 30-day period. The Romeike petition exceeded the needed amount of signatures, ending with 127,258 signees by the deadline.

On Monday–four months after submission, the White House responded to the petition, but said it could not comment on the case.

“To the extent that these petitions request a particular law enforcement or adjudicatory action, or address a matter before the courts, we cannot issue a comment,” it wrote.

“But while we can’t comment on this particular issue, we know that homeschooling is a popular option for many parents pursuing high academic standards for their children,” the White House continued. “Homeschooling can provide young people with the resources and attention they need to succeed academically, and we understand why their parents value this freedom.”

Michael Ferris, president of HSLDA, said that he is disappointed with the response from the Obama administration.

“No one can understand why the White House is showing so much leniency to millions of immigrants who have come here illegally in hopes of securing better jobs, but is so determined to deport this one family who has come to America in search of freedom for themselves and their children,” he stated. “This petition was the perfect opportunity for the White House to explain why this administration appealed the original grant of asylum. This was a perfect opportunity for the White House to explain the blatantly unequal treatment being received by the Romeike family. But the White House stalled for four months and said absolutely nothing.”

“[W]hen the White House simply notes that parents value their own freedom, it stops dangerously short in its statement,” Ferris said. “Where is the ringing endorsement that parental freedom is a fundamental human right? The White House silence on this point says a great deal.”

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  • Bill Greenhaw

    I feel that every gainfully employed productive American should be alarmed by this disregard for this amazing family by this administration. One hand they are allowing hundreds of uneducated Mexican illegals in and paying for hotels for them and discriminating against this family on the other hand. Just another reason why Obama and Holder have to should be impeached. Their values are not the same as most mainstream Americans.

  • 1Chooselife2day

    Lord Jesus please return, we need you to deliver us from this hatered towards your children.

  • Charles Hobden

    What a shoddy way to treat this fine family from Germany. On the other hand what do we expect from a president who does nothing out of real compassion but out of a political motivation or self-interest?

  • Norma du Preez

    Matthew 24 Jesus tells us what to expect as the end draws near. There is no country that can say “In our land there is peace.” Wars within, people wars around us. Come, Lord Jesus, come! Are you ready for that day?

  • C. P. Steinmetz

    1. Hatchet job of article. Do you mention Adolf Hitler every time you mention Volkswagen or Interstate Highway? An obvious attempt to bias. See Godwin’s Law.
    2. Six kids – about 3 too many. We don’t need more people with too many kids.
    3. The Germans have it right. They don’t want to have people raising children into another cult and culture. So we should not reward these people because they don’t want to follow the law of their homeland. Most importantly, the U.S. doesn’t need more people who feel their religious views trump the laws of the land.
    4. From the very beginning of this saga, I have watched and hoped it would not take this long for justice to prevail – and for them to go back to Germany.

    • Chris Smith

      The right you have to share your opinion was established by families very similar to this one. Most don’t know this because our schools don’t teach history anymore. Regardless, your comments don’t address what seems to be preferential treatment to anyone who may one day represent a vote. It’s shameful pandering. God bless you bro, even if you don’t believe in Him, He loves you more than anyone you know.

  • Monica

    There is of course an option for this family…..there are other European countries that wont hunt them as chriminals for homeschooling, however…they should avoid the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark as they all are very much for taking kids from parents that doesnt conform to what is considered desired…..all it takes is that you choose to dress in a way that sticks out….and you may end up loosing your kids. I you dont have the same beliefs as the socialworker (belong to the same church as he/she) you may end up loosing your kids…..and if a friend of a socialworker wants a child…..there are many cases where they have gone out and taken a child that fits what the friend wants.
    If your child has Aspergers syndrom or ADHD you caused that by bad parenting and risk loosing them for good. If you get sick and need help for a little bit…..make sure not to be single….many lost their kids that way. I can share so many storys, so many tragic events…..and still only be scraping on the surface.