Homeschooling Asylum-Seekers Facing Deportation from US: 'I Stand Against It in Jesus Name'
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Germany has some of the harshest punishments for homeschooling in the world. So, when Uwe and Hannelore Romeike decided in 2006 that God was calling them to homeschool their five children, the German government levied fines greater than the family's income, and the parents risked losing custody of their children.
But the Romeikes could see that German public school was damaging their children. Uwe told CBN news there were "fights at school, pressure, bullying, Lydia had stomach and headaches and Daniel was all withdrawn after just one year of being at public school. So that was already reason enough for us to start homeschooling."
The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008, seeking asylum in the United States. After a series of legal battles, their asylum request was denied, but in 2013 the Obama Administration granted them "indefinite deferred action status." They could stay in the U.S.
They settled in eastern Tennessee, where Uwe works as a piano teacher, piano tuner, and an accompanist at a local university.
Then, on September 6th this year, the Romeikes were told their deferred status had been revoked, and they had four weeks to obtain German passports and leave the country.
They had no warning of the deportation order, and were offered no explanation, except that there had been a "change of orders."
In the past 15 years, the Romeikes have become a thoroughly American family. Two of their children born in the U.S. are American citizens. Two older children have married Americans; and they have a grandchild.
Uwe told us, "I don't identify myself much as a German anymore."
Now they face the prospect of their family being ripped apart and to be essentially dropped off in a German city to suddenly start over.
Uwe said, "We wouldn't know where to go. We would land on a German airport without a place to live, without work, no way of making a living."
Hannelore told us, "It is not right, because we have done everything right. We have done everything by the law, and there should be an open door for normal people like us who try to do it the right way."
The Romeikes told us they do not believe the deportation order is God's will.
Hannelore said, "I try to discern, is this from the Lord? Then I will submit. He knows I have followed Jesus and I have given my life to Him. And when He asks us to leave, I'm ready. But is it the devil? Then I have to resist. I have to stand against it. And this doesn't seem like it's from God, because he doesn't rip families apart. And so I resist," she said.
"I stand against it and I break it in Jesus' name," she declared by faith.
Uwe said, "I don't want to really compare it with Job, but it kind of reminds me of how Job was tested. He kept on holding onto God even when everything fell apart. We pray that this won't happen in our family – that everything will break apart – but, even if it does, we want to hold fast to Jesus and to trust Him, even if things go in a bad direction for our family."
You can speak up for the Romeike family by calling America's leaders:
White House Switchboard:
Capitol Hill Switchboard:
Kevin Boden, an attorney at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, is not sure what will happen when the Romeikes meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on October 11.
Boden told us, "Worst case scenario, of course, they could take them into custody and say, 'You don't have what you need,' or 'You have travel documents. We're going to take you into custody and buy you tickets and get you out of here.' It's possible that they set this out for another four weeks and say, 'Come back in four weeks and show us plane tickets that you've bought to get out of here.'"
"Or it's possible they say, 'Come back in 12 months and go live your life.' There's really just a big cloud of uncertainty over what exactly will happen on the 11th," Boden explained.
U.S. Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger has filed a House bill that would create a path to citizenship for the Romeikes through green card status. There is hope for a Senate bill, as well.
The Biden administration could also intervene and order immigration officials to reinstate their deferred status.
CBN News asked ICE who ordered the deportation and why. They did not give us an answer but, in a general statement, said that ICE "...conducts removals of individuals without a lawful basis to remain in the United States, including at the order of immigration judges with the Justice Department's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)...and reviews each case as appropriate."
The Romeike family knows that the matter is in the Lord's hands. But whatever happens, the family will stick together.
Hannelore says, "His Word is steady and a rock, and we can stand on it."
"We want to glorify the Lord," Uwe said. "We pray that God will intervene and make a way where right now we don't see a way."
"The only anchor I have is the Word of God, and that's where I go to," Hannelore added. "I know he's fighting on our behalf."
Uwe said, "I just pray and believe that God will keep us together."
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