romeike family
Lydia Romeike Bates/Facebook

Hannelore and Uwe Romeike face a tragic predicament as their family faces deportation after 15 years of making a home for themselves in East Tennessee. Uwe Romeike told ‘Fox & Friends Weekend,’ “They did not tell us anything. We don’t really know why this is happening. We wonder ourselves because we can’t understand.”

Originally from Germany, the Romeike family fled to the U.S. after being fined for homeschooling their children in their home country. Their asylum claim was denied five years later, with authorities claiming they weren’t prosecuted. The Justice Department wrote in a legal brief at the time, “The goal in Germany is for an open, pluralistic society. Teaching tolerance to children of all backgrounds helps to develop the ability to interact as a fully functioning citizen in Germany.”

Their stay was indefinite, however, until now. Hannelore Romeike explained, “Homeschooling is illegal in Germany.” If the family is sent back, they’ll face the same persecution as before. Initially, an immigration judge found the Romeike family’s asylum claim appropriate. Kevin Boden, an attorney representing the family, said, “They found that the Romeike family did have a well-founded fear of persecution based on their participation in a particular social category, that being homeschoolers.”

Boden continued, “The Obama administration appealed that to the Board of Immigration Appeals. That appeal court agreed with them, as did the Sixth Circuit, and the Supreme Court denied it. We think this is, in fact, an asylum case. We do think they have a well-founded fear, as we testified. I can tell you today, I talked to families today that have fear in Germany, and the fight there, the persecution there, is very real today as it was 15 years ago.”

Boden added that the Romeike family can stay in the U.S. and have done so for the past 15 years legally, noting that the Biden administration and federal agencies can make it happen. He said, “We’re asking them to simply do just that.” “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Pete Hegseth said FOX News reached out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for comment but did not hear back in time for the segment.

The couple, who are evangelical Christians, decided to educate their kids independently after witnessing how their children’s “whole personalities changed” and suffered health issues while attending public school, Uwe Romeike said. The contents of their children’s textbooks, which included concepts against their religion, such as endorsing abortion and homosexuality and insulting “family values,” further soured the parent’s faith in the public schools, according to court documents.

Uwe Romeike said, “The content we found in there is diametrically against what we believe. Why would you teach a child to be disrespectful to parents? Why would you trust the Devil over God?” After being slapped with over $7,000 in fines for yanking their kids from the public school system and having the police show up at their door to escort their children to public school, the Romeikes relocated to Morristown, Tenn., where they filed for asylum, according to court documents.

Republican U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger, whose district covers Morristown, introduced legislation that would grant the family permanent residency status. A petition started by the Home School Legal Defense Association urging the Biden administration to reinstate their deferred status has received over 70,000 signatures so far.

In a positive update, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News Digital that the family has been granted a one-year stay of removal. The development comes after lawmakers intervened on the Romeike family’s behalf, asking U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to reconsider the move. A number of Tennessee lawmakers pled in a letter to ICE Deputy Director Patrick J. Lechleitner, “We are asking you and your office to give this family a chance to continue building their lives in Tennessee. It is our understanding a court has ruled they are allowed to stay indefinitely, as long as they fulfill their obligation of checking in as ordered by ICE. To our knowledge they have been faithful in doing so.”

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