WASHINGTON — Alliance Defending Freedom and a legal support group for German homeschooling families submitted a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday that asks the court to reinstate asylum for a persecuted German family. Attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom office in Vienna, Austria authored the brief in support of the Romeike family’s request for the high court to review the case.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike faced loss of custody of their five children and potential jail time simply for homeschooling them under a German government policy that seeks to stamp out “parallel societies.” An immigration judge granted the family asylum in 2010, calling the policy “odd,” “silly,” and “utterly repellant to everything we believe as Americans,” but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit later upheld reversal of the decision after the Obama administration appealed.
“Parents have the freedom and authority to make decisions regarding their own children’s education without undue government interference,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Chief Counsel Benjamin Bull. “The immigration court clearly recognized that the German policy of persecuting home-schooling families violates basic human rights. The Supreme Court should uphold that decision, reverse the 6th Circuit ruling, and allow the Romeikes to remain in the U.S. rather than face certain punishment in Germany simply for homeschooling their children.”
The Romeikes fled persecution in August 2008 to seek political asylum in the U.S. In Germany, they were fined several times for home-schooling their children and left their home country when it became clear they could lose custody or be jailed. Attorneys with the Home School Legal Defense Association represent the family, who now live in Morristown, Tenn.
The brief, submitted by Alliance Defending Freedom and Schulunterricht zu Hause in Romeike v. Holder, states, “World opinion and practice cannot determine the meaning of U.S. legal guarantees in the asylum procedure. However…an overwhelming body of international law pertinent to European countries creates important guarantees for parents to decide on their children’s education. If this right means anything, it must encompass parents’ right to home educate their children. The practice of some States, including Germany, creating a total ban on home education and enforcing draconic sanctions on parents that have all the qualifications to home school their children, is a clear encroachment on the most basic values of liberty.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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