As U.S. Border Ignites, Biden Deports German Homeschooling Family
Despite a record-setting number of illegal entries across the southern border, the Biden administration has announced it will deport a Christian family that fled Europe for the right to homeschool their children — a family granted indefinite legal residency by the Obama administration.
The couple, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, fled to the United States in 2008 after German authorities fined the family $9,000 for violating a Nazi-era anti-homeschooling law and could have removed their children from the home. After a tumultuous court battle reaching as far as the Supreme Court, the Obama-Biden administration gave the family the right to live in their new country indefinitely.
But when the Romeikes showed up for a routine immigration check-in on September 6, officials told them to return in four weeks with their passports; they were being deported to Germany.
“America used to be a free country, and people from all over the world immigrated here to seek freedom,” Uwe Romeike told Laura Ingraham on Monday night. “We hope and believe there will be a change” in their status — but as of this writing, they face imminent return to a nation that still denies parents the right to educate their own children.
The saga began in 2006, when the Romeikes enrolled their children in German public schools — where they learned “anti-Christian” lessons that endorsed abortion and homosexuality, while disrespecting parents and Christianity. “Their personality literally changed,” Uwe Romeike told local Tennessee media. “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.”
But the decision to homeschool their five children violated a Nazi-era law that banned homeschooling. In 1938, Adolf Hitler enacted the Law on Compulsory Education in the German Reich (the “Reichsschulpflichtgesetz”), requiring all children to be indoctrinated in public schools, purportedly for the purpose of creating national unity.
On two separate occasions in October 2006, armed German police attempted to remove children from the home and force them to attend public school — successfully in one instance. Fines accumulated, and the government could have removed their children from their home. The family fled to the U.S. in August 2008, settling on a farm in Tennessee.
The Romeikes won an asylum ruling in 2010 from U.S. immigration judge Lawrence O. Burman, first named to the bench by then-Attorney General Janet Reno. But the Obama-Biden administration fought the decision, with the Justice Department asserting in its legal brief that the Nazi-era law aims to create “an open, pluralistic society. Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.”
The Obama administration’s argument won over a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 14, 2013. Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote, since Germany’s law applies to all parents who wish to homeschool, the Romeikes “have not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them” on religious grounds. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take their case, again at the urging of the Obama-Biden administration.
The DOJ’s January 2014 legal brief against taking the Romeike case was signed by Donald Verrilli, the solicitor general who would argue for legalizing same-sex marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges case.
But after significant public pressure, the Obama administration relented in September 2014, when the Department of Homeland Security announced the Romeikes could legally remain in the U.S. permanently as recipients of deferred action status. The family says immigration authorities offered no explanation for the sudden change.
“We’ve tried to do it the right way, and we don’t get the right to stay here or to immigrate now for 15 years,” Hannelore Romeike told Laura Ingraham. Yet the administration releases illegal immigrants into the American heartland with a court date and a police escort. “It seems there are two faces to this administration,” Hannelore said.
The Romeikes have had two more children since coming to the United States — Sarah, 12, and Rebecca, 10, both of whom are U.S. citizens — and their two oldest children, Daniel and Lydia, have married U.S. citizens.
“We don’t have any place to live there. I don’t have any work to provide for my family over there,” said Uwe Romeike.
Since homeschooling remains as tightly restricted as when the Romeikes left Germany, the family of seven will face the same legal fines, and potential jail time, as before. “The persecution there is very real today, as it was 15 years ago,” said the family’s attorney, Kevin Boden. Since the family’s departure, teachings about alternate sexualities and genders have come to pervade German reading and math courses. “The idea is to show children that there are different ways to love and live,” an LGBTQ activist told the UK Guardian.
“The Romeike family should be able to stay in the United States and home educate their children,” said the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Jim Mason, a staunch defender of the Romeikes. “America is a land of freedom and opportunity, and there are few freedoms or opportunities more important than the ability of parents to safely direct the education of their own children, without fear of punishment or persecution.”
The family’s case “seems like it’s the classic case of persecution for your religious views. That is what asylum was designed for, for people like you,” Ingraham told the couple on Monday night. “There’s something really rotten about this.”
The expedited enforcement of nebulous and undisclosed immigration laws against a Christian homeschooling family especially galls some observers, as the Biden administration has presided over an uncontrolled southern border, allowing illegal immigrants, and narcotics, to cross the border with impunity.
The Romeike family’s deportation represents “a sad example of the perverse priorities of the Biden administration on immigration policy and nearly every other area of government” — a juxtaposition that “defies belief,” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “Are we really living in a country with a border open to terrorists and drug cartels but that deports entire families who follow the rules to seek asylum on a claim of religious freedom?”
President Joe Biden set an all-time record for the largest number of illegal border encounters in one month: 304,162 in August — narrowly beating the previous record set last December. Biden also shattered historical norms with the sheer number of illegal immigrants who have entered the United States each year since he took office.
The administration has rolled back safety features to keep illegal immigrants and drugs out of the United States. The Biden administration cut razor wire installed by Texas National Guardsmen last Wednesday.
The magnet of free health care and possible amnesty, which President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris promised to deliver during the 2020 presidential election, continues to draw many vulnerable people on a deadly journey. Two children, aged 3 and 10, drowned in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, within a week of each other.
Meanwhile, the office that oversees unaccompanied minors — the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) — has lost contact with 85,000 children. Two-thirds of unaccompanied minors take jobs to pay off the cartels; an unknown number fall prey to human traffickers for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
Despite this carnage, Senate leaders “are much more concerned about Ukraine’s borders than they are with anything happening on our southern border,” said Ingraham.
A growing number of illegal immigrants no longer seek work; experts warn that some may have terrorist connections. “Mexican drug cartels are actually training foreign terrorist groups like al-Shabaab, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda to pass themselves off as Mexicans or other Latin Americans,” global security expert Ben Varlese told American Family News. “How many terrorists are being passed off as Venezuelan?”
In recent years Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolás Maduro, has strengthened diplomatic and technological ties with such traditional American foes as Iran and China. “Right now it looks like it’s just cartels and migration, but right behind it are the Chinese, Russians, and the Iranians,” Joseph Humire of The Heritage Foundation told AFN News.
Yet on September 20, Biden extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 714,700 Venezuelans. Despite its name, Temporary Protected Status may stretch on for decades — as it has for Honduras and Nicaragua, which received TPS in 1998, and El Salvador, which followed three years later. Border Patrol encountered 2,202 Venezuelans in fiscal year 2019, compared with 168,000 in the first 10 months of this fiscal year. An illegal immigrant planted a Venezuelan flag on U.S. soil at the border crossing near Eagle Pass, Texas.
The Biden administration is also expected to appeal a court ruling that the Obama-Biden Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is unlawful, which Barack Obama implemented in 2012 after Congress refused to pass the DREAM Act.
“Apparently the Romeike children are not DREAMers, too, so their dreams don’t count,” Kilgannon told TWS.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.