(LifeSiteNews) — The Romeike family has been granted a temporary one-year stay of deportation from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after pro-family voices pushed back against the agency’s effort to kick them out of the country last month.
The #Romeikes & our attorney met with ICE staff in TN, where they signed the paperwork to extend their stay in the US for another year.
— HSLDA (@HSLDA) October 11, 2023
Originally from Germany, the Romeikes fled to the United States in 2008 to homeschool their five children. Former President Barack Obama sought to have them removed from the U.S. in 2012. A lengthy legal battle ensued, with the Romeikes, who had been (and are still) living in east Tennessee, eventually losing their appeal for asylum to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014.
Thanks to public pressure from LifeSite and others, the Department of Homeland Security announced in March of 2014 it would “defer action” on their case. Last month, the family was informed out of the blue by an immigration agent that they had one month to gather their belongings and return to Germany.
On September 12, Republican U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee introduced a bill that would “grant the Romeikes permanent status as legal residents, with a possible pathway to US citizenship.” The House Judiciary Committee is currently reviewing the legislation.
GOP Tennessee U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn also wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas earlier this month. She noted the hypocritical nature of ICE’s decision.
As millions of illegal aliens cross our southern border, the Biden admin has worked to remove the Romeike family, who came to TN legally after being persecuted for homeschooling.
Following my letter & the work of so many, I am glad ICE has granted a 1-year stay of removal.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 6, 2023
“As millions of illegal immigrants flood across our southern border and disappear into our country, your immigration authorities have chosen to punish a family who has built their lives in Tennessee within the legal parameters of our immigration system,” she wrote.
For the last nine years, the Romeikes have had a normal life in America, despite their non-citizen status. Uwe, the family’s patriarch, is a pianist at First Baptist Church in Morristown. He also works at Carson-Newman University as a piano instructor. His wife Hammelore has since given birth to two more children. Two of their adult children are married to U.S. citizens.
Kevin Boden of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is the Romeikes’ family attorney. He recently told The Daily Wire that while the decision is welcome news, he is unsure as to who gave the order.
“It’s tough to know — is it a new official who came into ICE and is looking at this? Is it the Biden administration? Is it just the individual ICE officer who doesn’t understand this or was there some superior in the bureaucratic process somewhere who just decided they wanted to affect the deportation? I don’t know,” he remarked.
A petition launched in support of the Romeikes by the HSLDA has garnered over 115,000 signatures.