WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — U.S. lawmakers are considering legislation that would stop the deportation of a German Christian homeschooling family who moved to Tennessee nearly 15 years ago to protect their children from public school indoctrination.
The legislation could protect the Romeike family from being deported from the U.S. and likely facing serious criminal penalties on their home soil.
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, the family of nine moved from Germany to America in 2008 to raise their children as they saw fit – something they felt would be impossible given Germany’s strict prohibitions against homeschooling that involve serious criminal penalties.
“We came here in 2008 because we were persecuted with high fines and threatened with jail time and loss of custody of our children,” the father of the family, Uwe Romeike, said in a recent interview. “The police took our children to school and it was just an unbearable situation for us to stay there.”
Though they were granted asylum in Tennessee, the Romeike family underwent a fraught legal battle to remain in the U.S., including fighting deportation efforts by the Obama administration.
After losing their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014, they finally caught a break when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deferred action on their case, allowing them to stay in Tennessee.
This month, however, following nine years of normal life in America despite non-citizen status, the Romeikes received an unwelcome surprise when they were reportedly instructed by an immigration agent to obtain passports and return to Germany, where they are likely to face criminal penalties.
Now, U.S. lawmakers are stepping in to try to prevent the family’s deportation.
According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which has launched a petition to help the Romeikes remain in the U.S. and has attorneys working to prevent the deportation, said legislators in the U.S. Congress are considering a bill to “grant the Romeikes permanent status as legal residents, with a possible pathway to US citizenship.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee introduced the measure, HR 5423, on September 12.
The House Judiciary committee is currently reviewing the proposed legislation.
But the legislative route will be a difficult one for the family, who has been given a tight four-week deadline to obtain passports and leave the country.
“For the bill to provide the Romeikes their much-hoped-for respite, it must be passed by the House and Senate, and then signed by President Biden,” HSLDA writer Dave Dentel pointed out.
While there’s precedent for such a measure – Dentel noted that three similar bills were passed by Congress and approved by Biden last year – HSLDA action executive director Joel Grewe said that the family will need lots of backing to succeed in remaining in the country.
“Rep. Harshbarger’s bill offers a chance to delay the new deportation order while Congress works toward providing this permanent remedy,” Dentel said. “But to make it work, the Romeikes need plenty of support.”
The HSLDA is calling on supporters to contact their representatives to urge them to back the bill.
Readers can also sign the HSLDA petition.