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Friday, May 17, 2013

The Justice Department vs. Home Schooling

“Equal laws protecting equal rights; the best guarantee of loyalty and love of country.” — James Madison, letter to Jacob de la Motta — 1820.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records were released earlier this year as the Obama administration prepared for budget cuts, according to newly released data that challenged claims the program involved "low-risk" individuals. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the figures to two top senators, after a three-month delay and under the threat of congressional subpoenas.

A Fox News report states:

“Of the 2,226 detainees that were released in February, the department revealed, "622 have been identified as having some type of criminal conviction."

A statement from Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., who received the stats, said 32 of them had multiple felony convictions. The department then "re-apprehended" 24 of those, the senators said, after realizing the "seriousness" of their crimes.

McCain called for those responsible to be punished.

"ICE's reprehensible actions put Arizona at risk by setting free into our communities hundreds of detainees who were guilty of criminal offenses," he said. "The ICE officials responsible for this must face disciplinary action and must take all actions necessary to ensure that this never happens again."

At the time, ICE officials defended the decision as one made in order to stay within budget -- as a prior budget resolution expired and the sequester was set to kick in.”

I cite the above example to illustrate the duplicity of our government and the statist who are in power.

The Romeike family has for years been battling for the right to educate their children as they see fit. On Tuesday, May 14th the United States government has denied their request.

Originally from Germany Uwe and Hannelore Romeike wanted to homeschool their six children, but it is against the law in Germany. They faced threats of legal action from the government and crippling fines before choosing to immigrate to the United States in 2010, seeking political asylum. They are devout Catholics who emigrated from Germany in 2008 to home school their six children in Tennessee. As Uwe Romeike told Fox News, it is illegal to do that in Germany.

U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman granted the Romeike’s request, but it was overturned in 2012 by the Board of Immigration Appeals, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement challenged the decision.

On Tuesday, in the words of the Home School Defense League Association, which has represented the family: “The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama Administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family.”

The parents could face jail time if forced to return home and the German government could take their children..

The ruling essentially states that “the Romeikes have not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them, whether on grounds of religion or membership in a recognized social group.”

The compulsory attendance laws — and related punishments if violated — apply to everyone, and therefore this isn’t a case of persecution, they say.

“The United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment, even treatment that our laws do not allow,” the ruling explains.

Uwe and Hannelore Romeike decided to homeschool their children because ofRomeikes concerns that the German public school system taught bad values and approved of witchcraft. Faced with fines, imprisonment, and the loss of custody of their children in the only European country where homeschooling is banned outright, the family fled to the United States in 2008. On January 26, 2010, an immigration judge granted the Romeikes asylum. The immigration judge held that the Romeike’s were “members of a particular social group” and concluded that they would face persecution for their religious beliefs should they be returned to Germany.

On May 4, 2012, the Board of Immigration Appeals overruled the immigration judge and denied the Romeikes asylum. The Board of Immigration Appeals needed to answer these questions: (1) Have the Romeikes suffered persecution? (2) If they did suffer persecution, was it because of their religion? (3) Alternatively, if they did suffer persecution, was it because of their membership in a particular social group? The Board of Immigration Appeals answered no to all these questions. First, it wasn’t persecution because the anti-homeschooling law was one of general application (not meant to target a specific group, but rather something that applied evenly across the board). Next, because there were secular reasons for the compulsory attendance law, even if it had been deemed persecution it wouldn’t have been persecution suffered because of their religion. Finally, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that German homeschoolers are not a particular social group within the meaning of the act. To be a social group, there must be “social visibility” and “particularity.” Homeschoolers are simply too “amorphous” to constitute a social group eligible for protection under the asylum law.

The Home School Legal Defense Association will represent them. It sees their denial of asylum as a fundamental threat to freedom. "In this particular case there is an equivalency between human rights standards and our constitutional rights. If our government takes the position that home-schooling is not a human right for the Romeike case to give them the basis of asylum, then it may not be a constitutional right for them as well," said Michael Farris of the HSLDA.

Immigration experts differ as to whether the Romeike's situation meets the criteria for asylum here.

David Abraham, a professor at the University of Miami Law School, said: "Germany, a democratic country, has chosen not to permit home schooling as one of the options. Germans have a chance to change that through their legislature. In the meantime, it doesn't exist and it is not persecution."

But Thomas Dupree, a Bush administration Justice Department lawyer disagrees. "The administration has a wide variety of options at their disposal that range from granting asylum to deferring any kind of action to remove these people," he said.

A petition on the White House website to grant the family permanent legal status has garnered over 100,000 signatures -- a threshold that typically triggers comment from the administration. A recording on that website tells visitors, "If a petition gets enough signatures White House staff will review it, ensure it's sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response."

Home-schoolers in Germany face not just fines, but the potential removal of children from their parents' custody. That is a level of punishment the Romeikes say rises to persecution.

“We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and we will appeal their decision,” said Michael Farris, HSLDA Founder and Chairman. “America has room for this family and we will do everything we can to help them.”

The court said that the Romeikes had not made a sufficient case and that the United States has not opened its doors to every victim of unfair treatment. Although the court acknowledged that the U.S. Constitution recognizes the rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children, it refused to concede that the harsh treatment of religiously and philosophically motivated homeschoolers in Germany amounts to persecution within our laws on asylum.

“While we will continue to fight in the courts over the issue of whether our law requires the Administration to give this family asylum, there is no doubt of the ability of the Obama Administration to use its discretion to immediately grant this family permanent asylum. We urge the Administration to do so at once,” Farris added.

“If our Administration is willing to explore a policy of leniency for millions of immigrants, it is simply inexplicable why they cannot find room for one homeschooling family from Germany,” Farris continued.

“Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers,” said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA Director of International Affairs. “The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened—something most people would call persecution. This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany.”

Recent changes in immigration enforcement policy are also at issue.

In 2011 the Obama administration initiated a new policy called "prosecutorial discretion" that gives the government broad power to pursue only high-priority cases. The policy was designed to give Department of Homeland Security the power to decide which deportation proceedings it wishes to pursue.

According to a March 13, 2013 report by ABC News:

“This case would probably fall under one of those cases that should be a low priority because you have a family that is fleeing based on their own beliefs," McKanders said. "They of course do not have a criminal background so it should be one of those cases where they are not spending a lot of resources, but it's not."

"The attorney general has the authority at any point in time to grant the family asylum," said Donnelly, who added that he hopes that's eventually what happens in this case. "These folks should be allowed to stay, they meet the standard."

The Justice Department declined to comment to ABC News. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said it is its policy not to comment on pending litigation in federal court.

Donnelly and Home School Legal Defense Association leader Michael Farris have petitioned the White House to allow the Romeike family to remain in the country.

"Every state in the United States of America recognizes the right to homeschool, and the U.S. has the world's largest and most vibrant homeschool community," read the formal petition on the White House website.”

Todd Starnes writes in

“Uwe, a classically-trained pianist, relocated their brood to a four-acre farm in the shadow of the Smokey Mountains in eastern Tennessee. And with the help of a generous community, the family adjusted to their new home - complete with chickens, ducks and a dog named Julie.

“We are very happy here to be able to freely follow our conscience and to home school our children,” he told Fox News. “Where we live in Tennessee is very much like where we lived in Germany.”

Uwe said he was extremely disappointed that their petition to seek asylum was appealed by the Obama administration.

“If we go back to Germany we know that we would be prosecuted and it is very likely the Social Services authorities would take our children from us,” he said.

Uwe said German schools were teaching children to disrespect authority figures and used graphic words to describe sexual relations. He said the state believed children must be “socialized.”

“The German schools teach against our Christian values,” he said. “Our children know that we home school following our convictions and that we are in God’s hands. They understand that we are doing this for their best – and they love the life we are living in America on our small farm.”

Daniel, the oldest son, said he and his siblings have adjusted to their new home -- learning English and meeting other teenagers -- and of course -- the freedom to home school.

"I can learn a lot from my parents, much more than I could learn from school," he said.”

Eleven million people are going to be allowed to stay freely – but this one family is going to be shipped back to Germany to be persecuted,” “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

This is another example of the duplicity of the Obama administration. They (the statist in control) will ignore our current immigration laws and allow thousands of illegal immigrants from south of the border to remain in he United States and even allow their offspring the full benefits of not only a public education, but entrance to college at reduced tuition rates. Obama has ordered ICE to show a blind eye to the entrance of more and more illegal immigrants with the hope of amnesty and eventual voters for the Democratic Party. On the other hand Obama’s justice department will throw their full resources against one family of educated and productive people whose main crime is that they want to home school their children.

On the one hand our government is allowing thousands of illegals a pass while on the other hand focusing on one Tennessee family that was originally granted asylum by an immigration judge and then deciding to make an example of them. Perhaps the real issue here is the statists’ contempt for home schooling. The lesson to learned from the Romeike's story is if you're coming to America as a Christian refugee, go to Mexico first, and then cross the border illegally. Liberals will welcome you with open arms. If this is not an example duplicity than I don’t know what is?

Here are two videos that are worth watching for additional commentary on home schooling and the Romeike’s story.

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