A family homeschooling safely in rural Tennessee may be forced to return to their native Germany, where the parents likely face huge fines and criminal penalties, and could lose custody of their five school-age children.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike are looking to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to give them permanent refugee status. But Attorney General Eric Holder is disputing their case, arguing Germany's ban on homeschooling fails to violate the family's fundamental rights.
The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 after authorities fined them thousands in euros and forcibly took their children because they homeschool. In 2010, a U.S. immigration judge granted the Romeikes political asylum—the first time this status was granted based on compulsory schooling laws. The judge found the family has legitimate fear of persecution in Germany, where a small group of Christian homeschooling families have already been jailed, fined, and stripped of their children.