Romeike v. Holder, Tennessee, (2010)
In January of 2010, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike were presented with a choice no parent should have to make: either abandoning their religious beliefs, or losing custody of their children.
The Romeike family is from the German state of Baden-Württemberg, and chose to educate their children at home in order to follow their Evangelical Christian religious beliefs. However, state authorities refused to accept this and forced the Romeike children to attend the local public school by sending the police to enforce the Schulpflichtgesetz, or School Duty Law and march the children to school. They had no choice but to flee their homeland and seek asylum in the United States, where they found themselves in Tennessee.
In July 2010, the Becket Fund submitted an amicus brief to the United States Board of Immigration Appeals. It not only covered the disturbing Nazi-era background of the School Duty Law, but also explained that the original purpose of the law was to suppress “the development of religiously and philosophically motivated parallel societies.” The Romeikes never wished to flee their duty to educate their children, only the state’s attempt to indoctrinate their children against their Christian religious beliefs.
The Becket Fund and other supporters of the family are still waiting for the Board’s decision.
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