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Homeschooling Asylum Seekers Receive One-Year Deportation Reprieve

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A Christian family who fled Germany in 2008 to homeschool their five children and who have been seeking asylum in the United States ever since have been granted a one-year reprieve from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being suddenly told their deferred status had been revoked and they had four weeks to leave the country.

The Home School Legal Defense Association applauded ICE's decision to delay the deportation of the Romeike family, of Morristown, Tennessee, according to The Tennessean. The outlet reported the family's reprieve won't be finalized until Oct. 11, the date they were originally told they must leave the U.S. 

U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN) praised ICE's decision on social media. In her post, she noted that many East Tennesseans were among the 100,000 Americans who petitioned support for the family.  Harshbarger has introduced legislation to grant the Romeikes permanent residency. 

slider img 2As CBN News has reported, 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Uwe told CBN News there were "fights at school, pressure, bullying, Lydia had stomach and headaches and Daniel was all withdrawn after just one year of being at public school.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."

After fleeing Germany 15 years ago for the U.S., the family fought a series of legal battles after which their asylum request was denied. But in 2013, the Obama administration granted them "indefinite deferred action status," meaning 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Then, on Sept. 6 of this year, the Romeikes were told their deferred status had been revoked, and they had four weeks to obtain German passports and leave their home in America.

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 were born in the U.S. and are therefore 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."

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."

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CBN News is a national/international, nonprofit news organization that provides programming 24 hours a day by cable, satellite and the Internet. Staffed by a group of acclaimed news professionals, CBN News delivers stories to over a million viewers each day without a specific agenda. With its headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., CBN News has bureaus in Washington D.C., Jerusalem, and elsewhere around the world. What began as a segment on CBN's flagship program, The 700 Club, in the early 1980s, CBN News has since expanded into a multimedia news organization that offers today's news headlines