(Photo: Home School Legal Defense Association)
The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear an appeal from the Romeikes, a German homeschooling family that had asylum in the United States. The U.S. Justice Department sought to deport them back to Germany where they could lose custody of their children due to their religious beliefs.
"Today, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Uwe and Hannelore Romeike's asylum case," Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, wrote in a letter to supporters. "We knew it was an uphill battle since the Court only accepts 80–100 out of nearly 10,000 requests each year. While we are disappointed, the court's decision in no way changes our commitment to fight for the Romeikes and homeschooling freedom."
The Romeikes chose to homeschool because they believed the public schools were teaching their children values inconsistent with their Christian views. HSLDA helped the Romeikes flee Germany after they were threatened with jail time and losing custody of their children. HSLDA has also represented the Romeikes in court.
The Romeikes were initially granted asylum by a federal judge in 2010 after they fled Germany in 2008. In 2012, though, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed that decision.
The U.S. Justice Department sided with ICE, arguing that there is no fundamental right to determine the education of one's children and that Germany's law banning homeschooling makes sense because denying parents the right to homeschool teaches children tolerance of a diversity of opinions.
Farris says that all the court options to save the Romeikes from being deported have been exhausted, but HSLDA is working on a congressional solution.
"Even now," he wrote, "we have been working with supportive members of Congress to introduce legislation that could help the Romeikes and others who flee persecution."
In a post to its Facebook page, HSLDA argued that with approximately 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States already, the country should be able to accommodate one homeschooling family.
"Although this is the end of the normal legal battles, we are not giving up. If 12 million people can live here illegally, then surely there is a way to find a place for this one family," the post stated.