CV NEWS FEED // A homeschooling family who has lived in the United States legally for the last 15 years is now threatened with deportation.
The Romeike family are Evangelical Christians who fled from Germany to East Tennessee in 2008 after German authorities fined them. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany.
In 2013, the Obama-Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) denied the Romeikes’ claim for asylum, claiming: “The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society.”
The administration appeared to side with Germany’s homeschooling ban, claiming that the family was not being persecuted in their home country. “Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany,” the DOJ stated at the time.
However, as FOX & Friends Weekend host Pete Hegseth noted on Sunday’s episode of his show, the Romeikes were told that their stay in America was “indefinite.”
“Now after 15 years of making the United States their beloved home they are facing deportation,” Hegseth stated.
“They did not tell us anything,” said Uwe Romeike, the father of the family. Romeike is a pianist employed at Carson-Newman University.
He added that he, his wife Hannelore, and their children do not “really know why” they are faced with deportation after a decade and a half of legal residence in the United States. “We wonder ourselves because we can’t understand.”
WBIR reported that, according to Uwe, earlier this month an immigration official asked the Romeikes to return “in four weeks, with German passports, and to prepare to self-deport.”
Kevin Boden, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), is representing the Romeikes. He explained on Hegseth’s show that an immigration judge originally approved the asylum claim, finding “that the Romeike family did have a well-founded fear of persecution based on their participation in a particular social category, that being homeschoolers.”
However, the Obama-Biden administration successfully appealed the judge’s decision. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
In the ten years following the appeal, “the Romeikes have lived in the U.S., checking in periodically with immigration agents,” according to WBIR.
Hannelore Romeikes said that if her family were to be deported they would “face the same persecution” as they did before they left.
Boden agreed with her. “I talked to families today that have fear in Germany and the fight there, the persecution there, is very real today as it was 15 years ago,” he told Hegseth.
Hegseth observed that there is a discrepancy between how the Biden administration is treating the Romeikes and how they are treating the unprecedented number of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border.
“We are seeing record numbers of illegals race across our southern border, most of which are…loosely claiming some sort of a need for asylum,” said Hegseth. “Yet your clients, clearly, because of their beliefs, want to homeschool in a country that allows it, and Germany does not.”
Boden replied: “The Romeikes have entered the country lawfully, they have been here lawfully for 15 years, they want to stay here lawfully and there’s a way to make that happen. This is not a case other than a family following the rule of law.”
Mr. Romeike described what led him and his wife to homeschool their children while still living in Germany.
“Our oldest children were in school in the German public schools, and their personality literally changed,” he said. “We wanted to help them to grow up in what they believed in and what we believe in and not get basically indoctrinated with something we don’t want.”
The two youngest Romeike children are natural-born American citizens. Two of the older children are married to American citizens.
“They work here,” Uwe Romeike said of his family. “Everything is here in America. We don’t have any place to live there. I don’t have any work to provide for my family over there.”