By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org
First, they came for the Germans.
A family seeking asylum in Tennessee is in danger of being shipped back to Germany after U.S. courts determined that their home-schooling practices do not merit protection.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled Germany with their six children in 2008 because they wanted to educate their youngsters at home. A Nazi-era law prohibits home-schooling.
But, so far, American courts and the Obama administration have been unsympathetic to the Romeikes’ situation, according to the Washington Times. Deportation is in the works.
For a look at what the Romeikes face upon returning to the fatherland, the case of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich is instructive.
On Aug. 29, German police stormed the Wunderlich’s home in Darmstadt, Germany, and seized their four children, ages 7-14. The couple was found guilty of home-schooling their children.
The Purcellville, Va.-based Home School Legal Defense Association said the children “are still in custody, with no return date any time soon, and they have not been in contact with the parents.”
The Romeikes, evangelical Christians, fear that they, too, will lose custody of their children if their bid for U.S. asylum is rejected and they are forced to return to Germany.
Germany’s 1938 law, enacted during Adolf Hitler‘s regime, is a tool for state terrorism. U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman said as much in 2010, when he stated, “The (German) government is attempting to enforce this Nazi-era law against people that it purely seems to detest because of their desire to keep their children out of (public) school.”
But President Obama’s Justice Department doesn’t see it that way. The DOJ’s Board of Immigration Appeals overturned Burman’s ruling at the request of the administration. A circuit court hearing was denied.
In mid-April, HSLDA sent the White House a petition with more than 100,000 signatures asking the president to act. Petitions obtaining that many signatories require at least a pro-forma response under the administration’s own rules, but there has been no comment.
While the Romeikes prepare a Supreme Court appeal to remain in the “Land of the Free,” they and the Wunderlichs are getting a rough lesson in the fearsome power of the state — on both sides of the Atlantic.
Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
This story was originally published Sept. 7 at 9 a.m.