Petition in Support of German Homeschooling Family Passes 100,000 Mark

An online petition at a White House website in support of a homeschooling family from Germany seeking asylum in America has passed the 100,000 benchmark in signatures.

The petition, which was posted on March 19 and created on behalf of the Romeike family, has garnered over 104,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning.

"The Romeikes, a homeschooling family represented by HSLDA, were granted asylum in 2010 because Germany persecutes homeschoolers with fines, criminal prosecution, and forcible removal of children from their families," reads the petition.

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

In 2008, the Romeikes, a devout family who took their children out of German public schools under the belief that the curriculum was anti-Christian, moved to the United States and sought asylum status.

According to court documents, the Romeikes did not detail any specific anti-Christian content from the schools in Germany and did not specify which Christian denomination they belonged to.

In 2010, U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman granted the family asylum. However, Burman's decision was overruled by the Board of Immigration Appeals. The BIA decision argued that opposition to the German law regarding required school attendance was not sufficient grounds for asylum based on alleged religious persecution.

The Romeikes, who are being represented by the Home School Legal Defense Association, appealed the decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear oral arguments this month.

The United States Department of Justice has already stated its support for the BIA decision, arguing that the homeschooling law of Germany is not discriminatory in nature.

"The Board found that Germany had the authority to require school attendance and that the law itself was one of general application," reads a DOJ brief. "[T]he purpose of the law is to promote tolerance and pluralism … In addition, the Board found that the law did not disproportionately burden any one particular religious minority."

Robert Knight, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union, wrote a column arguing that Germany's ban on homeschooling save for special circumstances like prolonged illness was "draconian" in nature.

"A courageous German Christian couple refused to hand over their children to the government schools and fled to America three years ago. Now, the Obama Administration is trying to send them back. A likely outcome would be the state seizing the children and imprisoning the parents," wrote Knight.

The petition in support of the Romeike family can be found on the White House Petition website, where Americans can post petitions and if enough people sign them, the Obama Administration will address their issue.

For a petition to be searchable on the site, it must get at least 150 signatures. To get a guaranteed official response from the administration, it must get at least 100,000 signatures.

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