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Homeschooling German Family Seeks Asylum in US

Like many Europeans before them, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike have left the mother country for America under a cloud of religious persecution. That's what the husband and wife are telling US immigration authorities, anyway. The couple says they were persecuted in Germany for their evangelical Christian beliefs and for homeschooling their children. They now seek US asylum so they can stay in Tennessee where they homeschool their children.

In Germany, families cannot homeschool. German police even took the Romeike children from their home to school. Parents can face prison or fines for teaching their children at home, instead of sending them to school. In America, homeschooling is legal and gaining popularity.

The case will go before an immigration judge this Thursday. How do you think the judge should decide? Should the Romeikes swallow their pride and follow the German rules, or should the US offer them refuge?


Join The Conversation
Germanborn Germanborn 7 years
I was born and raised in Germany and it's stupid to read that in the meantime a US judge has actually granted asylum to this german couple. My guess is, those 2 people have been odd balls from the getgo in Germany. If the law over there requires your kids going to school, what is the problem? Teach your kids at home what you want them to know. The schools in germany are by no means any worse than here, besides they are a lot safer for kids than they are here. To me the judge is totally out of line to say that Germany should be ashamed to not let people home school their kids, there's a lot more going on in this country for one to be ashamed of.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
As Evangelicals the issue at hand is not social or education standards, but the exposure of their children to the evolution theory or other important facts in history. They wish to omit certain pieces of of information to control their own children and ensure their own faith which is pathetic. They scream out religious persecution even though the German government does not threaten their lives. Maybe Germany should just strip them of their citizenship and get rid of them. They can say bye bye to long paid vacations, long maternity leave, long unemployment pay, government childcare supplements and their social security too. They are going to get more than they bargained for here. They can block out all the scientific theories they want to and go sing hallelujah after being reborn in the hills of Tennessee. I wonder if they know the government still sticks their nose in to make sure their kids pass the state regulated tests. Hopefully those kids will grow up not hating their parents but they probably will. I knew one home schooled girl and the minute she could get out her house she did. She got married first thing to a Jewish guy and caught up on everything her parents didn't let her read like the Holocaust. Now she's a dental assistant since she couldn't pass her SATs for college. She will never forgive her parents and doesn't speak of them anymore.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
No problem Carrie Sue, I guess my opinion is that if your children are going to school then they're exposed to the what the school teaches, to what their friends have learned from their parents and from what their parents teach them and I still think parent have the biggest influence, but at least with that children can grow up and form their own opinions. That's just something that's really important to me. I think that belief and knowledge is the strongest when it's understood and intrinsically motivated. You really can't have that IMO if you've ever only heard one way of thinking for your entire life.
geebers geebers 8 years
I agree with those that said asylum is for those whose lives are in danger - not for someone who does not believe in their countries laws with no danger to their life at all. They should apply for citizenship. It seems entitled to me that they would seek asylum.
babaloo babaloo 8 years
My kids are homeschooled here in Tennessee. We have to meet specified educational requirements, test our kids and report attendance to the state. We go through an unbrella school to reduce the hassle. Our kids attend a weekly tutorial. It's a normal school day where they attend all their classes and pick up their study material from their teachers for the rest of the week. The classes are taught by parents that are professionals in their field. For instance, my daughter's algebra class is taught by one of the parents that has a master's degree in Electrical Engineering. Most of the parents that I have talked to about homeschool do it because they believe the government does a poor job. I haven't heard anyone openly admit they do it because of their religion. The parents are all extremely involved with the program and kids. And the kids are all respectful and smart. If they aren't, well, the Co-op board made it clear they would not be welcome. The government taught my oldest through middle school. She would have to get up at 6 to catch the bus. She wouldn't get home until after 4. She was tired and stressed. Think about gov't schools: You waste so much time getting to and fro to school. Attendance. Class changes. P.E. Lunch breaks. Study halls. So much wasted time. My kids wake up around 9 and do their work until 1 or 2. And they are basically done. They both play softball, the oldest is musically inclined and plays drums and guitar in a band and they have the benefit of having their best friends next door who are also homeschooled. So no, they aren't social retards. I would never send my kids to gov't schools. Those Germans will find a welcome homeschool community in TN if they are allowed to come.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
skb - asylum isn't for people who want a better life. If people come to the US wanting a better life, then they should go through the citizenship process. If people are in fear for their life or their family's life in their home country due to whatever reason (religious and political reasons most popular), then seeking asylum is perfectly acceptable.
stephley stephley 8 years
Illegal aliens don't usually apply for asylum. "The Refugee Act of 1980 conforms U.S. immigration laws with various UN conventions and protocols. A person within the United States may be granted asylum if he or she can demonstrate a "well-founded fear of persecution" based on (1) political opinion, (2) religion, (3) race, (4) nationality, or (5) membership in a particular social group. A person who is outside the U.S. may apply for refugee status based on this same criteria."
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I've known a lot of people born and raised in Germany and I couldn't imagine what has these people terrified of the German school system. They seem to be strict Christian fundamentalists and obviously want to teach their children along that set of guidelines however my fear is that they are confusing a simply legal requirement to register and send your child to school for religious persecution. I really don't think that the German government is saying you can not teach your child Christianity. What I think the gov. is saying is make sure your child is in school, period, and teach them what you want at home.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
People should only be granted asylum if their lives are in danger? Then I guess people should be OK with telling illegal immigrants to go back to their countries because they came here wanting a better life instead of being granted asylum.
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
*Just to clarify, I didn't take any offense Jessiebanana...just giving my take :)
Carrie-Sue Carrie-Sue 8 years
Jessie, every parent wants their child to believe as they do, at least if it's something they believe strongly enough in. Besides, public schools do their own form of "brainwashing", if that's what you want to call it. I attended a public elementary school, and I can still remember being taught evolution, which is not something my parents nor I believe in. One last thought: when I have children, I'm certainly going to want them to grow up with the same fundamental faith that I have. If they aren't going to encouraged in that at the public school, then I'll find a school that will or if need be homeschool them.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I find homeschooling for religious purposes to be a little creepy. Honestly I'm not trying to offend, but it has a cult like brain washing vibe to me. I agree with Steph, so many other families are in grave danger and don't get asylum. The parents could avoid arrest by simply sending their children to school. Yes it restricts their freedoms, but it is by no means the worse of the laws out there. Also to say it's specifically religious persecution is extreme to me. No family can home school for any reason, besides probably medical, I assume, so it's not as if they are being picked on. They are also free to teach their children whatever they want at home. The parents just come off as difficult and whiny when you think of displaced families, children living in war zones and the horrors against women in other places. There has to be a more constructive way of protesting this within their own country.
Mädchen Mädchen 8 years
hausfrau, I agree, it's just they wouldn't need asylum in Austria or Switzerland, they wouldn't even need a green card. Basically, it just seems to me as if they want the attention.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
I think they probably picked America because of the Evangelical presence thinking 1) they would be in the company of like minded people and 2) they would have a good lobbying organization for their cause.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Did anybody else immediately think of 'The Sound of Music'? (I know they're Austrian, but come on)
Mädchen Mädchen 8 years
*their problem, not there problem, obviously ;)
Mädchen Mädchen 8 years
I wonder what the exact rules for homeschooling are in Tennessee. The parents make it sound as if there problem was with how things are being taught, not so much what, and that that is why they want to teach their children themselves. If that really was the case, I don't see why they didn't move to Austria or Switzerland (where homeschooling is legal) which is very easy for German citizens to do. The children wouldn't even need to learn a new language.
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 8 years
If you want to homeschool your children, just move away. But why ask for asylum? As Steph said, many people sent back to their countries actually have to face serious economic hardship and violence. they're not being persecuted for their beliefs (it's simply illegal to homeschool, get over it), they're fighting windmills...
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
That was my thought star. Why do they need asylum? Why not just get U.S. citizenship?
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Saying that, if they want to wait in line and get their citizenship or wait for asylum like everyone else has been, more power to them.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
While I think the German officials are being quite silly about the whole 'home schooling leads to separate societies' the Romeikes' lives aren't in danger. For every day their children aren't in school, they are having to pay 30 euros per day per child. If they choose to keep their children out of school and not obey the rule of the land then they should have to pay the fine. If the parents were being beaten and jailed and the kids had been taken away never to see the parents again, then I think asylum would be a valid issue.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Ya know, I actually agree with Steph. It doesn't say if they are here illegally, but I'm assuming they are or they wouldn't be seeking asylum. I don't think they should get preference over the people who've been patiently waiting in line to come here. However, I do feel for them, the article says "he's afraid that if he returns to Germany, police will arrest him and government authorities will take away his children, who range in age from 11 to 3." So the circumstances can be very serious, not as serious as death, but still serious. But this story does show that there are many different kinds of religious persecution.
stephley stephley 8 years
I'm not clear why they'd be granted asylum - are their lives in danger? I've read a number of cases in which asylum seekers were sent back to African nations where they faced physical danger and possible death from the conflicts there.
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