By Daniel Payne
A group of congressional representatives this week urged the Biden Department of Justice to refrain from deporting a German family who emigrated to the U.S. more than a decade ago seeking asylum in order to home-school their children.
In the letter, addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the 32 representatives — all Republicans — urged the Department of Justice to reject the “unconscionable” deportation of the Romeike family, who arrived here 13 years ago after the German government forbade them to home-school their children.
The Romeikes are evangelical Christians and had eschewed public schooling due to conflicts with their religious beliefs. In 2013 they were granted deferred action status by the Obama administration, allowing them to remain in the U.S. indefinitely. But the Biden administration last month signaled that it might deport them in October of this year.
In their letter this week, the representatives said the looming deportation “is as inexplicable as it is unconscionable.”
“By all accounts, the Romeikes are model citizens,” the letter states. “Since their arrival to the United States, the members of the Romeike family have successfully assimilated into their local community and the fabric of American life. Uwe, the father, works at a Christian university. The youngest two children were born and raised here. The older Romeike children have even gotten married and have had their own children.”
The representatives said the Romeike family “has lived peacefully and in our country for over a decade” and that “to force this refugee family to suddenly return to Germany, with a government that once forcibly removed their children from their home simply for observing their deeply-held religious beliefs, is immoral and indefensible.”
The politicians noted that both Garland and Mayorkas possess the power to grant asylum to those seeking it in the United States.
“We … respectfully ask that you use this power given to you by Congress to grant the Romeike family asylum,” they wrote.
The current status of the Romeike family in the U.S. is unknown. Their report date for their possibly final meeting with immigration officials is sometime this month.
Kevin Boden, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has provided the Romeikes with legal help over the course of their time in the U.S., told CNA last month that the family “[didn’t] know if they’re going to be forced to leave … [or] if they’re going to be taken into custody” at this month’s meeting.
Boden did not respond to a query on Friday about the family’s status. Last month he said HSLDA was “working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” among other approaches, to try to secure their stay in the U.S.