“If the government now decides what children learn, and a whole generation is formed by this point of view . . . the next generation wouldn’t believe in freedom anymore.” — Uwe Romeike
Uwe and Hannelore Romeike were persecuted for homeschooling in Germany. They fled to the United States after facing exorbitant fines, forcible removal of their children, and possible imprisonment. The Romeikes were granted political asylum. The U.S. government appealed and the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed, ordering the Romeikes to be deported.
Now the time has come where the Supreme Court is again considering whether to hear Romeike v. Holder, HSLDA’s German homeschool asylum appeal.
The Court is scheduled to meet on February 21, and the cases they decide to hear will be announced on February 24.
HSLDA filed the appeal on October 10, 2013, and it first came up for consideration in November. However, it was delayed when the Court ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to respond in writing to our petition.
Yet now the Court is once again reviewing the Romeike case. We are faced with the question: Will the justices uphold America as a place of refuge for those who are persecuted for their faith? We pray and hope so.
“I believe we have made a strong and persuasive argument. The fact that the Court ordered the Justice Department to respond,” HSLDA attorney, Jim Mason explains, “seems to indicate that at least one justice is interested in the case, but now at least four justices must agree to hear the case.”
We ask now if you will join us, beginning today, for five days of prayer? Let’s join together and pray that the Court will agree to hear HSLDA’s appeal and that God will move in the hearts of the justices in favor of the Romeike family.
For more information and news updates about the Romeikes, visit >> hslda.org/Romeike
New Zealand is no better. Our Country refused asylum to a German home educating family at the end of 2012. This family had been home educating in New Zealand for 5 years. They have now been forced to go back to Germany.
More information: https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-educating-german-family-fail-in-asylum-bid/
If the Romeike Asylum case is overturned in the USA then we might be able to address this in New Zealand again.
Where does Asylum stand in New Zealand for overseas home educators at the moment? At the moment according to the case mentioned above no family can come to New Zealand and seek Asylum for home educating from any Country.
From the NZ Immigration and Protection Tribunal on this NZ case:
 The Tribunal held that:
(a) There is no right at international law to home-schooling.
(b) The duty of the state to respect the parents’ right to provide religious and moral education is subordinate to the state’s duty to provide general education.
(c) The evidence does not establish that Germany does not provide general education in an objective and neutral way, without over-emphasis on any religion, leaving it to parents to provide religious and moral education if they wish to do so.
 It followed that Germany’s requirement that the children attend a state school for the purpose of acquiring a general education does not breach any fundamental rights in respect of the parents.
 The Tribunal did find that the parents risked being fined for the children’s non-attendance at school and faced further enforcement steps and in response to any continuing breach including short periods of imprisonment and/or the children being taken into temporary state care (though these latter penalties were rare and arose only in extreme cases). However, the Tribunal found that these actions by the state were prosecution, not persecution because there is no right to home- schooling, nor is there a right to require that the general education of children be delivered through the prism of any particular religious beliefs. The argument that home-schoolers are differentially singled out for prosecution was rejected.
 Finally, it was accepted that persecution can include emotional and psychological elements, as well as severe socio-economic deprivation, but was satisfied that, while neither parent would be happy and may be distressed and put under some strain by providing religious and moral education outside school hours, such adverse consequences would fall far short of being serious harm. Nor (given that the state is entitled to require attendance at school) could it be said that there was any absence of state protection.
 As to the claim of socio-economic deprivation, the parents were found to be competent and able individuals who would have no difficulty in finding work in Germany. If substantial fines were to accrue, such fines would be imposed within the reasonable boundaries of Germany’s domestic law.
 As to the children, the state’s requirement of attendance at school for the purpose of being educated did not cause serious harm. The only harm claimed for them was that they were “irritated and confused” by having to reconcile what they were learning at school with their parents’ religious teachings at home. Further, the right of parents to provide religious and moral education does not take precedence over the children’s absolute right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Even if they choose not to follow their parents’ religion, it cannot be said that they will suffer harm.
 Nor did the evidence establish that either child would suffer serious emotional or psychological harm. The need to resolve conflicting ideas and to form their own view is an integral part of the education process, falling short of amounting to serious harm by a significant margin.
Financial assistance from the New Zealand government
 It is accepted that the family has never sought any kind of benefit in New Zealand. That is to their credit.
The effect of legal penalties in Germany
 It will be recalled that counsel repeats what is essentially one aspect of the refugee/protected person claims – namely that, if the family is returned to Germany, the parents face substantial fines and face further court appearances and possibly imprisonment.
 It has already been established in the course of the refugee/protected person appeals that none of the appellants faces a real chance of serious harm if they return to Germany. That finding did not overlook the court-imposed sanctions by way of fines (and, in extremis, imprisonment and possible temporary loss of the children) but found those sanctions to be a proportionate response to the breaching of a law designed to protect and promote the education and welfare of children. Criminal law sanctions for such breaches are not inconsistent with the gravity of Germany’s obligations towards children at international law.
 Counsel does advance the claim that such imprisonment would have a severely detrimental impact on the two younger children. However, the evidence put forward in the course of the refugee claim indicated that such a drastic step as a short period of imprisonment is only taken in extreme cases (see AB (Germany), citing Miki Kawashima Matrician, “Germany Homeschoolers as ‘Particular Social Group’: Evaluation Under Current US Asylum Jurisprudence” (2011) 34(2) BC Int’l & Comp L Rev pp439–462). That the younger children might be so affected by the short imprisonment of one or both of their parents is best described as speculative and would be, in any event, the product of the parents’ non-compliance with a reasonable law, well justified by Germany’s international law obligations.
 Finally in respect of the children (who are dependents), regard must be had to the international law obligation in Article 3 of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child that the best interests of the children are a primary consideration. Here, there is no question of separation from their parents, nor is there (for the reasons given in AB (Germany)) any serious harm arising in respect of the children from the requirement that they attend school in Germany. There is nothing else established which would suggest that their best interests are affected in any way by returning to Germany with their parents.
 The case for the appellants can be stated to rest on a desire to home-school their children, which the German state does not permit them to do.
 Other humanitarian concerns which arise are the length of time the family have now been in New Zealand, the fact that the father has employment here as a teacher, the fact that the oldest child is now in part-time employment here and that the second child is studying here.
 Recalling that the appellants each have individual circumstances which must be considered, the Tribunal is satisfied that, even if the humanitarian concerns are viewed cumulatively, none of the appellants has exceptional circumstances of a humanitarian nature which would make it unjust or unduly harsh to deport them.
 Given this finding, it is not necessary to address the second limb of the test raised by section 207 of the Act (the public interest). The appeals must fail.
DETERMINATION AND ORDERS
 The appeals are declined.
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From the Smiths:
Updated 2 February 2013: One year on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
Information on getting started: https://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/
Information on getting an exemption: https://hef.org.nz/exemptions/
This link is motivational: https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online: https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/