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Homeland Security Flips Coin on German Christian Family

AP Photo/Wade Payne

Uwe Romeike and his wife Hannelore work with their children at home in Morristown, Tenn. on Friday, March 13, 2009. The couple have moved into a modest duplex home while they seek political asylum because they say they were persecuted for their religious beliefs by home-schooling their young children in Germany. School attendance is compulsory there and educating children at home is not allowed. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Carly Andrews - published on 03/05/14 - updated on 06/08/17

Supreme Court was set to deport the home-schooling Romeikes.

The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a home-schooling German family on Monday, who had fled their own country in order to seek asylum in the United States on grounds of religious persecution. Just 24 hours later however, the government flipped the coin in a surprising turn of events, with Homeland Security granting them indefinite deferred status. 

The Romeike’s, an Evangelical Christian family had decided to home-school their children in Germany since they believed that their attendance at a state run school would not provide them with an education appropriate to their religious values.

However home-schooling is illegal in Germany. Authorities slapped the family with fines totalling 7,000 euros and threatened them with prison.

In 2008 The Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) assisted Uwe and Hannelore Romeike and their children in fleeing Germany and seeking asylum in the US, with the hopes of starting a new life, and home-schooling their children in freedom according to their religious beliefs.

There are an estimated 2 million children currently being home-schooled in the US.

The Romeike’s were initially granted political asylum. However in 2012 the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appealed the asylum decision.

On Monday, despite all efforts, the Justice Department rejected the appeal from Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, which meant that the family will have certainly been deported back to Germany, where they faced fines, jail and their children being taken away from them.

The family’s representative Michael Farris, who is also chairman of the HSLDA, stated that the German Supreme Court wants to “counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies.”

‘And that’s a direct quote’ he added.

“We want to give them a safe harbor. That’s what asylum is for.”

The Romeike’s say that German laws “violate international human rights standards.” They want the freedom to be able to raise their children according to their religious beliefs and values.

After the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday, Farris stated in a letter to supporters:

"Today, the United States Supreme Court declined to review Uwe and Hannelore Romeike’s asylum case," 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."

Farris also said that “the court’s decision is not a decision on the merits of the case; however, it was the last judicial hope for the family.”

However on Tuesday, against all odds and certainly against all expectations, Farris’ legal team received a call from a supervisor at Homeland Security, informing them that the family had been granted "indefinite deferred status."

"This means that the Romeikes can stay in the United States permanently." Farris writes on the HSLDA’s Facebook wall.

"We also want to thank those of you who spoke up on this issue–including that long ago White House petition. We believe that the public outcry made this possible while God delivered the victory" he says.

"This is an amazing turnaround in 24 hours" he adds. "Praise the Lord."

"Proverbs 21: 1 ‘The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord, He guides it wherever He pleases.””

EducationPoliticsReligious Freedom
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