Published On: Sun, Feb 17th, 2013

Romeike family, homeschoolers escaped from Germany, told by DOJ homeschool is not a protected freedom

In a political asylum case involving a German family that fled to the United States to be able to homeschool their children, the U.S. Justice Department is arguing that the freedom to choose to educate one’s own children is not a fundamental right.

If the Romeike family, who are evangelical Christians, lose their case and are deported back to Germany, they could face fines, jail time, and their children could even be taken away from them.

Romeike familyHomeschooling is illegal in Germany.

The Romeike’s did not agree with some of what was taught to their children in the public schools, so they began homeschooling in violation of the law.

After paying about $10,000 in fines and watching the police apprehend their children and take them to the public school, they sought political asylum in the United States and immigrated to Tennessee.

The Home School Legal Defense Association helped them with the move and now represents them in court.

The Romeike’s were granted political asylum by a federal district court judge in Tennessee. Political asylum is granted to refugees who can demonstrate that they are being persecuted for religious reason or because they belong to a “particular social group.”

The U.S. government protested the judge’s decision and appealed to an immigration appeals court, which ruled against the Romeike’s. The case, Romeike v. Holder, is now in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a legal brief for the case, Justice Department lawyers argue that Germany did not violate the Romeike’s human rights because the ban on homeschooling is a ban for all, not any specific group. Since German law does not prevent, for instance, only evangelical Christians from homeschooling, the Romeike’s are not being persecuted for a religious reason, the Justice Department says.

The Justice Department is essentially saying that Germany has violated no one’s rights because it banned homeschooling for all, Farris wrote, which means the Justice Department believes there is no fundamental right to homeschool.

“There are two major portions of constitutional rights of citizens – fundamental liberties and equal protection. The U.S. Attorney General has said this about homeschooling. There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government bans homeschooling broadly and equally, there is no violation of your rights. This is a view which gives some acknowledgement to the principle of equal protection but which entirely jettisons the concept of fundamental liberties.”




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  1. Romeike family wins deportation case in Christian homeschooling battle - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Obama administration responded to their efforts last February when the DOJ stated that “There is no fundamental liberty to homeschool. So long as a government […]

  2. Supreme Court orders Obama administration, DOJ, Eric Holder to respond to German homeschooler’s appeal - The Global Dispatch says:


  3. Shay Seaborne says:

    In the Romeike case, the Department of Justice argued against granting asylum because the country’s law is neither “selectively enforced” nor “metes out disproportionate punishment” against people of a particular religion. When Mike Farris and his so-called “homeschool defense” organization became involved in German homeschooling a few years ago, the result was disastrous for the family and for homeschooling.

    Farris and his parental rights arguments have been one of homschoolings’ worst enemies. His organization even wrote the two worst state laws in the country–New York and PA–touted them as “model legislation” and since then have made money “protecting” homeschoolers against the very laws they wrote. This insistence on promoting their own agenda, while refusing to work with state and local homeschoolers, is a well set pattern with Farris and HSLDA.

    Farris and his organizations have purported to speak for all homeschoolers and his extremist views and modes of operation have often made us all look like Ruby Ridgers and worse. He is now saying that he is afraid that President Obama will (somehow) “ban homeschooling.” This, from a man who turns a pretty penny by frightening homeschoolers and others with what I call Chicken Little marketing (“They sky is falling! The sky is falling!”).

    It is imprudent and dangerous to continue to let him use homeschooling and homeschoolers as the hammer of his cause, and his non-homeschooling issues as a wedge to divide and disempower the homeschool community.

    More here:


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