German Family Who Fled to U.S. to Homeschool Children Appeal Deportation Order

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The U.S. Justice Department argues that homeschoolers are not in danger of persecution. Image by Liquid2003

The U.S. Justice Department argues that homeschoolers’ rights aren’t breached by laws against homeschooling. Image by Liquid2003

U.S. Government Argues Human Rights of the Family Not Breached

The United States will of course argue the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals should be upheld. Central to the argument will be that parents do not have a basic human right to educate their children by way of homeschooling.

  • The government will point out that while homeschooling in Germany in banned in most cases, there are rare exceptions when it is allowed. Roma and Germans who are required to travel a lot for business have gotten exemptions to allow for homeschooling their children while they are on the road. And the government will refer to a decision of the European Court of Human Rights that held banning homeschooling does not violate the basic human rights of German. Therefore the government will say that German law complies with international law.
  • A second argument that the government will raise is that the religious rights of the Romeikes have not been infringed. People homeschool or want to homeschool their children for reasons that have nothing to do with religion. And not all Christians, even evangelicals, think it is necessary to remove their children from state-run schools. There is therefore no direct nexus between homeschooling and religion.
  • The third argument will be that the homeschoolers do not constitute a particular social group. In order to qualify as a particular social group, the group must be “immutable.” That means it is either impossible for members of the group to change (ie. black males) or changing (ie. a person’s political opinion) would involve the person making an extreme sacrifice that they should not be forced to make. The government will argue that just like parents can keep changing their children’s school, they can go back and forth between a school and homeschooling. And it will be pointed out that if parents do not particularly like what schools are teaching, they can teach their children anything they want to during the evening or on weekends.

Romeikes Believe Their Human and Religious Rights Breached

The family is being represented by attorneys with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Founded in 1983, the association is a non-profit organization to assist parents who wish to control the education of their children and protect the freedom of the family.

HSLDA will argue that the right of choice in education is a human right and recognized by such under international law. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

The major argument in the case is likely to be whether the family falls under the category of “particular social group.” The Romeikes will argue that as the right to decide how their children will be educated is a fundamental human right, the government should not be able to force homeschoolers to leave that social group as to do so would breach that right.

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