A German couple continues to seek political asylum in the United States to peaceably homeschool their children—for religious reasons—after having been fined thousands of Euros and forcibly separated from their children by the German government for having attempted to do so in Germany. Earlier this week, the couple's legal counsel, The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), received a response from the Department of Justice (DOJ) asserting the administration's agreement with a U.S. Court of Appeals's ruling on May 14 refusing the family asylum in the U.S. Nonetheless, the HSLDA promises to take the case to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to win the couple and their children asylum.
7/1/2013 United States (ChristianPost) — A German family who chose to homeschool their six children for religious reasons is currently still residing in the United States and their legal counsels say they're willing to go all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for their right to receive political asylum in the U.S.
Jim Mason, senior counsel and litigation director of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), told The Christian Post that HSLDA received a response to their letter from the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesay basically saying that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit made the right decision in deciding that the Romeike family should not have asylum in the U.S.
Mason said that the homeschool legal group will file a reply to the DOJ. And his colleague Michael Donnelly, HSLDA's director of International Relations and Staff Counsel, said if the Sixth Circuit Court won't rehear the case, "we're heading to the Supreme Court."
On May 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Uwe and Hannelor Romeike, who had been fined thousands of Euros and forcibly separated from their children by the German government, do not merit asylum in the United States. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) requested a rehearing on May 29, and received a response from the Department of Justice (DOJ) this week.
Donnelly laid out the errors in the court's opinion at an event hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Federal law offers foreigners asylum if they "can demonstrate past persecution or well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion."
Judge Lawrence Berman, the original federal immigration judge who heard the case, defended the Romeikes' well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of religion and membership in the social group of German homeschoolers.
Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, the Obama Administration appealed because "homeschooling is not a fundamental right" and "homeschoolers are not a recognizable social group."
Donnelly explained the argument of the Department of Justice: "Germany's applying that to everyone – no one is being singled out." This "neutral law applied to everybody" is a matter of "prosecution, not persecution."
Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, explained the holes in these arguments.
The law against homeschooling "is based on a law passed in 1938 by Hitler's Germany, which explicitly exists to stamp out religious beliefs, so the state can mold children into its preferred image."
Blomberg quoted the stated purpose of the law, "to ensure the education and training of German youth in the spirit of National Socialism."
The current law, while no longer National Socialist, "exists to forcibly conform German children into government- approved cookie-cutter citizens, regardless of their religious heritage, and in fact precisely to destroy their religious heritage," said Blomberg.