The Justice Department said German laws outlawing homeschooling do not constitute persecution and they want a German homeschooling family kicked out of the United States, according to a briefing filed in a high profile asylum case.
"The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society," the Justice Department brief states in their battle against the Romeike family. "Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany."
Germany has a national law requiring children to either attend public school or a government-approved private school.
The Romeikes had already been fined and German police once forcibly escorted their five children to school. They were notified that they could ultimately lose custody if they continued to home school.
The Home School Legal Defense Association is representing the family in their battle to start a new life in the United States – even as the Obama administration seeks to have the evangelical Christian family deported.
The family was initially granted asylum, but the Department of Justice objected and demanded the Christian family be deported.
"Attorney General Holder is trying to seek dismissal of this case because he believes that targeting specific groups in the name of tolerance is within the normal legitimate functions of government," said Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. "This cannot be the ultimate position of the United States without denying the essence of our commitment to liberty."
In their latest court briefing, the Justice Department referenced international court rulings that held "parents could not refuse the right to education of a child on the basis of the parents' convictions, because the child has an independent right to education."
They also referenced a German court ruling that states "the general public has a justified interest in counteracting the development of religiously or philosophically motivated 'parallel societies' and in integrating minorities in this area."
Farris said he can't understand why the Department of Justice would think it's appropriate to punish families who home school.
"We're trying to provide a home for this family who would otherwise go back to facing fines, jail time and forcible removal of their children because of their religious convictions about how their children should be educated," Farris said.
Their fate is now in the hands of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. A decision could come at any time.