- (Photo: Home School Legal Defense Association)
A letter signed by 27 members of Congress asks Attorney General Eric Holder to grant asylum to the Romeikes, a German family that fled to the United States after their government threatened to take their kids away from them because they homeschooled.
"A decision to deny the Romeikes the opportunity to educate their children freely is a decision to abandon our commitment to freedom," the letter argues. "Doing so would put America alongside those countries that believe children belong to the community or state."
The Romeikes recently lost a case in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in which they were seeking asylum. The court found that the Romeikes should not be granted asylum because homeschoolers do not fit the definition of a particular social group subjected to persecution. The Romeikes could simply send their children to public schools to avoid punishment from the German government, the court reasoned.
The letter, on the other hand, argues that homeschoolers are a particular social group: "Although parents can change their minds about homeschooling, no parent in a free nation should be forced by the state to make that decision."
The Romeikes are represented by the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has said it will appeal the court's decision.
"It's refreshing to see that there are members of Congress who are willing to put their support behind this family during this trying time," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA. "The Romeikes are doing the exact same thing the Pilgrims did hundreds of years ago, and they need to see there are still people in our government who care for this essential American ideal."
The signers of the letter are: Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Steve Daines (R-MT), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Luke Messer (R-IN), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Stevan Pearce (R-NM), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Bill Posey (R-FL), Phil Roe (R-TN), Todd Rokita (R-IN), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Steve Southerland (R-FL), Chris Stewart (R-UT), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), Lee Terry (R-NE), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), and Daniel Webster (R-FL).