U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told a German Christian family that was persecuted for homeschooling their children that they needed to prepare to be deported after living in the U.S. for 15 years, according to Kevin Boden, an attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), who spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled with their family from Germany in 2008 after getting thousands of dollars in fines for refusing to stop homeschooling, which was outlawed in 1918, and sought asylum in the U.S. before being granted “indefinite deferred action status” in 2014, allowing them to remain indefinitely in the country, according to an HSLDA press release. During a routine check-in with the agency in early September, the New Jersey parents were informed that they needed to have their passports ready in four weeks to be deported to Germany.
“They did not tell them why,” Boden told the DCNF. “They were just told there was a change in orders. We don’t know where the orders come down from, they may have come to the local office from the field office director or the deputy Field Office Director, which probably came from ICE headquarters. Whether it came from the Biden administration or somebody more at the executive level, we don’t know, just the change in orders, get travel documents and get ready to go is effectively what they’re told.”
After 10 years of peacefully living in the US, the #Romeike family, #homeschool family of 7, have been informed they will be deported back to #Germany. We are stunned by this news and are actively working to secure their continued, lawful future here. https://t.co/emXcPjl3TZ pic.twitter.com/HHKoMdCC9W
— HSLDA (@HSLDA) September 19, 2023
The parents were also reportedly given no written document explaining the situation or the next steps, nor were they given instructions regarding what would happen to their two minor children, who are 12 and 10 years old and were born in the U.S., according to Boden. He said that the Romeike’s five adult children’s status is also of concern; some are married to U.S. citizens and others are not.
“We just don’t know at this point, which is part of the scary nature of it,” Boden told the DCNF. “You can imagine showing up in two weeks and not knowing ‘Will they take me or my wife into custody and then what happens to our two minor children who are literally US citizens?’ So the uncertainty of this is just remarkable.”
The Romeike’s faced similar issues a decade ago when the Obama administration threatened to deport them in 2012 after they were initially granted asylum by an immigration judge two years earlier, according to HSLDA. The judge’s decision was overturned and the family appealed but the Supreme Court declined to review the case.
A petition was sent to the White House with over 120,000 signatures demanding that the executive branch take action to protect the Romeike family, according to the Christian Post. In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security granted the family “indefinite deferred action status” in March.
Boden told the DCNF that HSLDA is looking into its legal options and that they are circulating another petition in hopes of raising public support and “spreading awareness.” He said that the Romeike’s have been “a delightful family” as he’s worked on their case and that anyone “who meets this family would appreciate and enjoy who they are and would have a desire that they be allowed to stay.”
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