Christian homeschoolers from Germany denied asylum in US

(Photo: Home School Legal Defense)Hanelore Romeike teaches her children at home in Tennessee. The German family, who say they were persecuted in their homeland, has been fighting the Obama administration in court so they can be granted asylum and stay in the United States. An appeals court denied their asylum request on Tuesday.

The group defending a German Christian homeschooling family seeking U.S. asylum has said it will fight the decision to deny the family to seek refuge in the country following an appeals court decision.

The decision is the latest event in an ongoing legal battle being fought between the Romeike family and the governments of the United States and Germany.

The Romeike family fled Germany and entered the United States in 2008 because it is illegal to teach children at home in their country.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), an advocacy group which has defended the Romeikes, strongly disagreed with the court's decision.

"Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers," said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA director of international affairs in a statement after the appeals' court decision.

"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," he said.

"This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany."

"We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and will appeal their decision", said Michael Farris, the head of HSLDA.

"America has room for this family and we will do everything we can do help them," he said.

The Romeike's fought the German government over their right to homeschool because they wanted to emphasize their faith-based values.

They feared German public education would influence their children against these values.

They came to the U.S. after they were fined heavily and faced with other charges in Germany for continuing to homeschool.

Initially an immigration judge in Tennessee granted the Romeike's asylum request.

However, the administration of President Barack Obama stepped in and opposed the ruling.

The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals found in favor of the government, and the Romeike's appealed.

A panel of three judges from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the Romeike's case on April 23.

They handed down their decision against the family Tuesday.

The court said that the Romeike's had not proven their case that the German government had persecuted them.

It noted that the German laws regarding homeschooling applied to everyone and that the Romeike's were not singled out for selective enforcement.

Furthermore, the court said that the U.S. Congress did not intend to grant safe haven to people fleeing their own country due to "government strictures which the U.S. Constitution prohibits."

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