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Home Schooling German Family Fights Deportation


Home Schooling German Family Fights Deportation

PHOTO: Uwe Romeike works with Lydia, Josua and Christian during their home schooling session in the dining room of their home in Morristown, Tenn., on April 2, 2009.

A German family that fled to the United States in 2008 to be free to homeschool their children is fighting deportation after a decision granting them asylum was overturned.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, devout Christians from the southwest of Germany who now have six children, initially took their three oldest children out of school in their native country in 2006. Shortly after, the German government started fining the family and threatening them with legal action.

Home schooling has been illegal in Germany since 1918, when school attendance was made compulsory, and parents who choose to homeschool anyway face financial penalties and legal consequences, including the potential loss of custody of their children.

To escape such legal action, the family fled to the United States in 2008 and was granted political asylum in 2010, eventually making their home in Tennessee. U.S. law states that individuals can qualify for asylum if they can prove they are being persecuted because of their religion or because they are members of a particular "social group."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement challenged the decision to grant the Romeikes asylum to the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2012, claiming that Germany's stringent policy against homeschooling did not constitute persecution.

The board overturned the initial asylum decision, arguing that homeschoolers are not a particular social group because they don't meet certain legal standards, The board said that the home-schooled population is too vague and amorphous to constitute a social group.

Now the family is fighting that decision in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case on April 23.

"We think we have a pretty strong case," Romeike family attorney Michael Donnelly told ABC News. "We feel that what Germany is doing by preventing this family and a lot of other families from exercising their rights in the education of their children violates a fundamental human right," he said.

Donnelly says the right of parents to decide the direction of their child's education has been established in Article 26, section 3 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads: "Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children."

"Our Supreme Court has said that the state cannot unduly burden, restrict, or direct childrens' education privately," said Donnelly, referring to a precedent established in a 1925 case, Pierce v. Society of Sisters.

Karla McKanders, an asylum and refugee law specialist at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, told ABC News the family faces an uphill battle.

"They are trying to establish that they are eligible for asylum under the social group category, which is a difficult group to prove in the first place," McKanders said.

McKanders also says that public policy implications as far as the United States' relationship with Germany could also be in play in this case, and that immigration officials may be wary of setting a precedent that establishes homeschooling as a means for asylum.

"They don't want to open up the floodgates for similar asylum claims based on these grounds," she said.

Recent changes in immigration enforcement policy are also at issue.

In 2011 the Obama administration initiated a new policy called "prosecutorial discretion" that gives the government broad power to pursue only high-priority cases. The policy was designed to give Department of Homeland Security the power to decide which deportation proceedings it wishes to pursue.

"This case would probably fall under one of those cases that should be a low priority because you have a family that is fleeing based on their own beliefs," McKanders said. "They of course do not have a criminal background so it should be one of those cases where they are not spending a lot of resrouces, but it's not."

"The attorney general has the authority at any point in time to grant the family asylum," said Donnelly, who added that he hopes that's eventually what happens in this case. "These folks should be allowed to stay, they meet the standard."

The Justice Department declined to comment to ABC News. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said it is its policy not to comment on pending litigation in federal court.

Donnelly and Home School Legal Defense Association leader Michael Farris have petitioned the White House to allow the Romeike family to remain in the country.

"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," read the formal petition on the White House website.

"Regretablly, this family faces deportation in spite of the persecution they will suffer in Germany. The Romeikes hope for the same freedom our forefathers sought," it read.


http://abcnews.go.com/US/home-schooling-german-family-fights-deportation/story?id=18842383&singlePage=true


And as of yesterday the supreme court ordered the Obama admin to respond (but I thought the above article was better for discussion): http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/26/supreme-court-orders-obama-admin-to-respond-to-german-homeschooling-familys-deportation-appeal/



So, what do you think?   Is it a appropriate reason for asylum?  What do you think about Germany's law against homeschooling (which I wasn't even aware of!)?

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by on Nov. 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM
Replies (221-230):
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 3, 2013 at 8:46 PM

It sounds as if you believe American standards, rights, policies and educational guidelines are universally applied. While your statement does apply to the US, it may not in other countries.

Also, how do you explain away the fact that the parents chose not to immigrate to another EU country that allows home schooling, but instead came to the US?

Quoting SewingMamaLele: Which is why it's not for me, you or the German government to decide. The only ones who know what is best for any given child is that child's parents. It is their right and responsibly to decide what is best.

Quoting Sisteract:

I do not know enough about German schools or this family to say one way or another which could offer the kids a better education in the time allotted. 

Do you?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

The right to decide what kind of education their child receives.

It's not about what is or isn't being taught, it's about TIME.   That's 30+ hours of your child's week that is being taken away, when they could be spending that time with their family, pursuing other interests, traveling, etc... There's SOO much more to being a human and a functioning adult than what a classroom can offer.  So, if you can give the child what the classroom can offer in a fraction of the time and then enrich them MORE, why not?   What's wrong with that?

Quoting Sisteract:

What "right" is being disallowed?

They could home school in addition to compulsory education. Obviously Germany has  educational standards that they want all able students to meet.

What parent wants their kids under or uneducated? Look at the school district that wants to eliminate Science- that district has supporters (parents).

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

It's my belief that parents have a responsibility (to society and their children), to educate their children to the best of their ability, but that they also have the right to determine how that education occurs.

This is the thing that bugs me so much about questions like "what if a parent wants their child to grow up illiterate?".  Seriously... what parent would WANT that?    Questions like that imply that society, or the government care more about and know what a child needs more than it's parents.   Which, is 100% false. 

If there is abuse or neglect going on (which includes both of your examples), then the appropriate agencies can deal with them as such.   Don't restrict the rights of all parents because there are some bad parents out there.   I mean... if that's the goal, why allow kids to live with their parents at all?   Abuse can happen any time of the day. 

Quoting GLWerth:

So, is it your belief that if a parent wants their child to grow up illiterate, it is their right to ensure that?

Any 'vision' a parent might have of what their child's education is A-OK because they are the parent? What if a parent decides that the education their child requires is to learn to be a really good prostitute? Final say means final say.

When does a child's right to be able to function in society begin? When they're 18?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:


Howso?   Do you not believe parents have the right to have the final say about their child's education?  You don't think that's fundamental to being a human?







Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Dec. 3, 2013 at 10:24 PM
lol. Your attempt at this analogy is off because all states do have differing abortion laws.
Germany has not disallowed education they have highly regulated one form of education in a very specific format. Jim Crow laws are vastly different to not allowing homeschooling because they targeted a specific group and were repressive in nature. Not allowing homeschooling is not oppressive in nature as there are plenty of other schooling options. There is not a denial of education. Nice try though. It must be tough to have your sky falling in so much. Scary world you live in.

Plus, Parents can homeschool in Germany if they are registered and the curriculum is vetted and while exceptions are rare there are exceptions. There is private school options in Germany. All SOFA kids are allowed homeschooling.

I also note that you tried to use the UN as logic for your argument but failed to answer the question: has the UN sanctioned Germany for denying a basic human right?


Quoting SewingMamaLele: So, you would support the reversal of roe v wade and allow some states to outlaw abortion since couples can just cross state lines to obtain one if they so desire? Heck, let's put Jim crow back on the books... People who dislike segregation can just move to a different state, right?



The UN doesn't enforce cultural rights.




Quoting Momniscient: Nope. They are completely free to go to a country they don't need a visa or amnesty to reside in. One right there in the eu...





Are there UN sanctions against Germany?






Quoting SewingMamaLele:

No, they can't... that's the point here.   They MUST send their child to some form of institutionalized schooling.

Quoting Momniscient: They can decide how their child is educated.







Quoting SewingMamaLele:

I didn't say choosing homeschooling was, specifically, but deciding how your child is educated IS.  That's according to the UN.  You can disagree with the UN's stance on the issue, but that doesn't mean you're right. 

Quoting Momniscient:

Nope. Choosing homeschooling is not a fundamental human right in a country that does not allow it.

Choosing to move to a country that allows it and does not require amnesty or a visa IS however a fundamental human right. You should focus your outrage to those that do not have a right to attend school period or cannot leave their own borders to school as they please. 

These people are not persecuted, but go ahead and be all outraged about it. It certainly is an easy thing to feel morally superior about without actually having to do anything.

*and no I wouldn't feel differently if homeschooling were banned elsewhere. Homeschooling is NOT a fundamental right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeschooling_international_status_and_statistics

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Chosing your child's education is a fundamental human right.   It doesn't matter if they have open borders, the country is violating that right within it's borders.   Would it be different if it were a country not in the EU that decided to ban homeschooling?

I'm as outraged about other issues as this one.  Persecution is not a competition, we can discuss the many different forms of it.

Quoting Momniscient: Just because homeschooling is against the law in a country that is not the US and does not have the same rule of law as the US does not mean a fundamental human right is taken away. Those people still have every choice and freedom to choose how they educate. Including open borders if they want to homeschool elsewhere.









Now you go figure out how to justify your attitude when people are being truly oppressed and all you have is some American armchair manufactured outrage.





(



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SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Dec. 4, 2013 at 12:06 PM

The UN's declaration isn't binding or enforcable.   It's up to countries to follow it on their own if they have the means.

Germany isn't doing anything legally wrong, it's a moral issue. 

Quoting SuDoNim:

I stand corrected. Although, that prompts a new question: whose jurisdiction is Germany primarily under?

Quoting SewingMamaLele: I quoted the UN declaration of human rights, this is the EU charter. Different document.

Quoting SuDoNim:

A crucial part is missing from the version you quoted:

3.
The freedom to found educational establishments with due respect for
democratic principles and the right of parents to ensure the education
and teaching of their children in conformity with their religious,
philosophical and pedagogical convictions shall be respected, in
accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of such freedom
and right.




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SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Dec. 4, 2013 at 12:20 PM
1 mom liked this

The highlighted portion IS universal.   Nature, God, or whatever diety you believe in designed it that way.   No one can care about your child's future and well being the way that you do as the parent.   It is the only sustainable system.

They came here because they were offered help to come here.  Making a bid for asylum draws American attention to what's going on in other parts of the world... which, is a good way to help the other German homeschooling families without risking the loss of custody of their children by staying in Germany and fighting.   I posted a link with the full story several pages back.

Quoting Sisteract:

It sounds as if you believe American standards, rights, policies and educational guidelines are universally applied. While your statement does apply to the US, it may not in other countries.

Also, how do you explain away the fact that the parents chose not to immigrate to another EU country that allows home schooling, but instead came to the US?

Quoting SewingMamaLele: Which is why it's not for me, you or the German government to decide. The only ones who know what is best for any given child is that child's parents. It is their right and responsibly to decide what is best.

Quoting Sisteract:

I do not know enough about German schools or this family to say one way or another which could offer the kids a better education in the time allotted. 

Do you?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

The right to decide what kind of education their child receives.

It's not about what is or isn't being taught, it's about TIME.   That's 30+ hours of your child's week that is being taken away, when they could be spending that time with their family, pursuing other interests, traveling, etc... There's SOO much more to being a human and a functioning adult than what a classroom can offer.  So, if you can give the child what the classroom can offer in a fraction of the time and then enrich them MORE, why not?   What's wrong with that?

Quoting Sisteract:

What "right" is being disallowed?

They could home school in addition to compulsory education. Obviously Germany has  educational standards that they want all able students to meet.

What parent wants their kids under or uneducated? Look at the school district that wants to eliminate Science- that district has supporters (parents).

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

It's my belief that parents have a responsibility (to society and their children), to educate their children to the best of their ability, but that they also have the right to determine how that education occurs.

This is the thing that bugs me so much about questions like "what if a parent wants their child to grow up illiterate?".  Seriously... what parent would WANT that?    Questions like that imply that society, or the government care more about and know what a child needs more than it's parents.   Which, is 100% false. 

If there is abuse or neglect going on (which includes both of your examples), then the appropriate agencies can deal with them as such.   Don't restrict the rights of all parents because there are some bad parents out there.   I mean... if that's the goal, why allow kids to live with their parents at all?   Abuse can happen any time of the day. 

Quoting GLWerth:

So, is it your belief that if a parent wants their child to grow up illiterate, it is their right to ensure that?

Any 'vision' a parent might have of what their child's education is A-OK because they are the parent? What if a parent decides that the education their child requires is to learn to be a really good prostitute? Final say means final say.

When does a child's right to be able to function in society begin? When they're 18?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:


Howso?   Do you not believe parents have the right to have the final say about their child's education?  You don't think that's fundamental to being a human?








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SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Dec. 4, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Not allowing homeschooling is absolutely oppressive.   That's the whole point here.  If you fail to grasp that, I don't know what else to say to help you to understand. 

I already answered your question, it is highlighted below.


Quoting Momniscient: lol. Your attempt at this analogy is off because all states do have differing abortion laws.
Germany has not disallowed education they have highly regulated one form of education in a very specific format. Jim Crow laws are vastly different to not allowing homeschooling because they targeted a specific group and were repressive in nature. Not allowing homeschooling is not oppressive in nature as there are plenty of other schooling options. There is not a denial of education. Nice try though. It must be tough to have your sky falling in so much. Scary world you live in.

Plus, Parents can homeschool in Germany if they are registered and the curriculum is vetted and while exceptions are rare there are exceptions. There is private school options in Germany. All SOFA kids are allowed homeschooling.

I also note that you tried to use the UN as logic for your argument but failed to answer the question: has the UN sanctioned Germany for denying a basic human right?


Quoting SewingMamaLele: So, you would support the reversal of roe v wade and allow some states to outlaw abortion since couples can just cross state lines to obtain one if they so desire? Heck, let's put Jim crow back on the books... People who dislike segregation can just move to a different state, right?



The UN doesn't enforce cultural rights.




Quoting Momniscient: Nope. They are completely free to go to a country they don't need a visa or amnesty to reside in. One right there in the eu...





Are there UN sanctions against Germany?










(




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Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM

So they worked through the courts and a determination has been made. Now what, IYO OP, should this family do? How do they put the unity of their family first? Or should they continue down a different road? Convictions or intact family?

SewingMamaLele
by Leanne on Dec. 4, 2013 at 12:34 PM


Quoting Sisteract:

So they worked through the courts and a determination has been made. Now what, IYO OP, should this family do? How do they put the unity of their family first? Or should they continue down a different road? Convictions or intact family?

They're waiting on a response from the Atty Gen before the supreme court decides to take the case or not.  If they don't, or if they lose, I assume they will find somewhere else in the EU to live. 

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Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Dec. 4, 2013 at 2:27 PM
1 mom liked this
Then why bring up the UN as part of your argument? Homeschooling is not a fundamental human right. Education is and Germany doesn't deny education.
There is no fundemental human right to have your opinion legislated.

And you haven't addressed anything I've said logically, you've only responded with your opinion. I get it, you've read the American conservative blogs and the independent patriot and all that...

But you haven't made a compelling argument. I also notice that you don't seem to actually understand the laws in Germany and what they really mean...
Quoting SewingMamaLele:

Not allowing homeschooling is absolutely oppressive.   That's the whole point here.  If you fail to grasp that, I don't know what else to say to help you to understand. 

I already answered your question, it is highlighted below.


Quoting Momniscient: lol. Your attempt at this analogy is off because all states do have differing abortion laws.

Germany has not disallowed education they have highly regulated one form of education in a very specific format. Jim Crow laws are vastly different to not allowing homeschooling because they targeted a specific group and were repressive in nature. Not allowing homeschooling is not oppressive in nature as there are plenty of other schooling options. There is not a denial of education. Nice try though. It must be tough to have your sky falling in so much. Scary world you live in.



Plus, Parents can homeschool in Germany if they are registered and the curriculum is vetted and while exceptions are rare there are exceptions. There is private school options in Germany. All SOFA kids are allowed homeschooling.



I also note that you tried to use the UN as logic for your argument but failed to answer the question: has the UN sanctioned Germany for denying a basic human right?





Quoting SewingMamaLele: So, you would support the reversal of roe v wade and allow some states to outlaw abortion since couples can just cross state lines to obtain one if they so desire? Heck, let's put Jim crow back on the books... People who dislike segregation can just move to a different state, right?





The UN doesn't enforce cultural rights.






Quoting Momniscient: Nope. They are completely free to go to a country they don't need a visa or amnesty to reside in. One right there in the eu...







Are there UN sanctions against Germany?















(




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Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Dec. 4, 2013 at 4:45 PM

The application of underlined ideology is not universal nor universally understood.

Therefore your ideal here is NOT universal.

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

The highlighted portion IS universal.   Nature, God, or whatever diety you believe in designed it that way.   No one can care about your child's future and well being the way that you do as the parent.   It is the only sustainable system.

They came here because they were offered help to come here.  Making a bid for asylum draws American attention to what's going on in other parts of the world... which, is a good way to help the other German homeschooling families without risking the loss of custody of their children by staying in Germany and fighting.   I posted a link with the full story several pages back.

Quoting Sisteract:

It sounds as if you believe American standards, rights, policies and educational guidelines are universally applied. While your statement does apply to the US, it may not in other countries.

Also, how do you explain away the fact that the parents chose not to immigrate to another EU country that allows home schooling, but instead came to the US?

Quoting SewingMamaLele: Which is why it's not for me, you or the German government to decide. The only ones who know what is best for any given child is that child's parents. It is their right and responsibly to decide what is best.

Quoting Sisteract:

I do not know enough about German schools or this family to say one way or another which could offer the kids a better education in the time allotted. 

Do you?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

The right to decide what kind of education their child receives.

It's not about what is or isn't being taught, it's about TIME.   That's 30+ hours of your child's week that is being taken away, when they could be spending that time with their family, pursuing other interests, traveling, etc... There's SOO much more to being a human and a functioning adult than what a classroom can offer.  So, if you can give the child what the classroom can offer in a fraction of the time and then enrich them MORE, why not?   What's wrong with that?

Quoting Sisteract:

What "right" is being disallowed?

They could home school in addition to compulsory education. Obviously Germany has  educational standards that they want all able students to meet.

What parent wants their kids under or uneducated? Look at the school district that wants to eliminate Science- that district has supporters (parents).

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

It's my belief that parents have a responsibility (to society and their children), to educate their children to the best of their ability, but that they also have the right to determine how that education occurs.

This is the thing that bugs me so much about questions like "what if a parent wants their child to grow up illiterate?".  Seriously... what parent would WANT that?    Questions like that imply that society, or the government care more about and know what a child needs more than it's parents.   Which, is 100% false. 

If there is abuse or neglect going on (which includes both of your examples), then the appropriate agencies can deal with them as such.   Don't restrict the rights of all parents because there are some bad parents out there.   I mean... if that's the goal, why allow kids to live with their parents at all?   Abuse can happen any time of the day. 

Quoting GLWerth:

So, is it your belief that if a parent wants their child to grow up illiterate, it is their right to ensure that?

Any 'vision' a parent might have of what their child's education is A-OK because they are the parent? What if a parent decides that the education their child requires is to learn to be a really good prostitute? Final say means final say.

When does a child's right to be able to function in society begin? When they're 18?

Quoting SewingMamaLele:


Howso?   Do you not believe parents have the right to have the final say about their child's education?  You don't think that's fundamental to being a human?










SuDoNim
by Member on Dec. 4, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Asylum-seekers are typically in a situation where their very lives are in imminent danger. When it comes to human rights vioations, homeschooling doesn't even compare to what refugees are facing: little girls sold as brides, women being brutally beaten by their husbands (with no legal recourse), people tortured and abused by their own police and government officials.

Quoting SewingMamaLele:

They came here because they were offered help to come here.  Making a bid for asylum draws American attention to what's going on in other parts of the world... which, is a good way to help the other German homeschooling families without risking the loss of custody of their children by staying in Germany and fighting.  




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