German Homeschooling Family in US in Danger of Being Deported
The Romeike family has been in the States for 15 years. Now the U.S. wants to deport them to Germany.
“I spent a couple days with [the Romeike] family recently, … and I can tell you they are a delightful family. They’re people of faith,” Kevin Boden, Attorney and Director of HSLDA International at Home School Legal Defense Association, told The Stream’s Nancy Flory. The Romeike family, now living in Tennessee and homeschooling the last three of their seven children, came to the U.S. after they were fined in Germany and threatened with having their children taken away for teaching their kids at home. Now the U.S. looks poised to send them back to Germany.
A Change of Orders
The Romeikes sought out HSLDA to represent them in 2008, not long after they left Germany. HSLDA took the case and has been providing continued support over the last 15 years, said Boden. But recently, the Romeikes — who have had regular check-ins with ICE over the years — were told to bring their passports to the next meeting and prepare to self-deport. “There’s a change of orders somewhere,” said Boden. “We don’t know where that came from, why that came down, but suffice it to say it’s a significant change and it casts just an incredible amount of uncertainty over the lives they’ve built for the last 15 years.”
The Romeikes were granted indefinite deferred action status years ago, “[W]hich means that the administration, the executive branch, is not going to act on the order of removal that was effectively issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals. For whatever reason, for an unknown reason right now, that deferred action status is removed and they’re now taking action.”
Uwe Romeike, father of the children, told The Stream’s Nancy Flory that his family is not prepared to move back to Germany. “No, not at all. [W]e have been in the [U.S.] for 15 years. We don’t have any place to go there, place to live. We don’t have any work there. We don’t have … we wouldn’t even know where to go after landing on some airport.”
Uwe said that the U.S. wants to deport all nine family members — even though two of the oldest are married to U.S. citizens, and one of them has a child. Of course, the Romeikes do not want to go. One of the youngest children, a 12-year-old girl, cried after the last meeting with ICE. “After talking and praying with her, she settled down, but it was quite disturbing for her.”
The best outcome for his family is that they become U.S. citizens. But if that doesn’t happen, he’d at least want their deferred action status extended.
Sign the Petition
Boden said that HSLDA is working a couple of angles in the Romeikes’ case. “We do have a petition going that we ask people to sign and we can petition the White House so they can continue to give them deferred action. And of course, ultimately we’d like to see them to have a path towards lawful permanent residency. And a representative filed a house resolution shortly after they were notified of this. And we’d like a Senate bill filed to allow them to able to be able to stay in the country.”
Those who wish to help can sign the petition to the White House by going to hslda.org/romeike. The petition is at the bottom of the page. “We’d like to collect a hundred thousand-plus signatures to present this.” People can also contact their congressional representative and ask them to co-sponsor the bill, H.R. 5423, filed by Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tennessee).
Uwe would like prayer for the situation. “Definitely for the ones who are in charge of making decisions here. Open their hearts and reverse [the decision].” Unless something changes, his family is required to return to an immigration office with their passports in two weeks.
While the Romeike case won’t impact homeschooling families in the U.S., Boden encourages people to be mindful of their own freedoms. “What I hope it does is make those of us that homeschool here incredibly grateful for the freedom that we have in this country and to never take it for granted.”
Watch the short documentary about the Romeikes from HSLDA: