The Romeike family, who have been living in Morristown for 15 years, are facing deportation by the U.S. government.
They moved to the U.S. from Germany in 2008 after being fined approximately $9,000 by the German government for homeschooling their children. Initially, their application for asylum was granted by an immigration judge, but it was later appealed by the U.S.
Department of Justice and their asylum status was revoked by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals. The family appealed to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals but lost unanimously. The court ruled that Germany’s enforcement of its school-attendance law did not amount to persecution against the family, regardless of their religion.
The Romieke family is a White, Christian family of 9 who fled Germany 15 years ago b/c the German government punished them for homeschooling their kids. After they were initially granted asylum, Merrick Garland's DOJ fought the decision & won, and is now seeking to deport them.… https://t.co/utCfXMAvHX pic.twitter.com/9zxxZXu8sH— Sam Parker 🇺🇲 (@SamParkerSenate) September 25, 2023
“They have not shown that Germany’s enforcement of its general school-attendance law amounts to persecution against them,” Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote for the court.
Since the ruling, the Romeikes have been living in the U.S. without permanent residency or citizenship but have been checking in with immigration agents periodically. Recently, they were asked to return in four weeks with German passports and prepare for self-deportation.
The family is now working with attorneys from the U.S. Home School Defense Association to try and stay in the U.S.
“They’re here with the approval of the U.S. government, but without permanent residency or citizenship status,” said Kevin Boden, an attorney with the U.S. Home School Defense Association.
The Romeikes have stated that they have established their lives in America, with their children attending school and two of their adult children being married to U.S. citizens. They have no place to live or work if they are forced to return to Germany.