The Spectacle Blog

The Unintended Consequences of Granting Home Schooling Family Asylum

By on 6.7.13 | 12:45AM

I appreciate Benjamin Brophy's measured response to my opposition to granting the Romeikes asylum in the United States. Brophy's heart is in the right place and I understand his sympathy with the plight of the Romeikes.

Nevertheless, the Germans aren't persecuting the Romeikes because of their religious beliefs. Even if you disagree with the German law prohibiting homeschooling, it is a law that is applied to anyone who wasn't sending their children to school be they religious or not. Christians aren't being singled out under this law.

I argued that there was nothing preventing the Romeikes from petitioning the German government to change its homeschooling laws. Brophy acknowledged the point but indicated that a change in the law is unlikely because of the surge towards secularism in recent years. He may be very well correct in that assessment. Yet that doesn't explain to me why the Romeikes chose to claim refugee status instead of going through the naturalization process.

As such, I think granting the Romeikes refugee status in this country would have unintended harmful consequences. So let's suppose the Supreme Court overturns the decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and grants the Romeike's petition for asylum.

If this petition is granted then be prepared for Muslim families from Germany who wish to homeschool their children to apply for refugee status in this country. Brophy might very well have no objection to such a development. But I suspect that many of the people who favor granting asylum to the Romeikes would not have been inclined to grant the Romeikes asylum if they were Muslim. But if we are to grant refugee status to Christian homeschooling families from Germany then we would have to do the same with Muslim homeschooling families as well. There would simply be no way around that if the Romeikes were to be granted asylum.

Brophy argues that parental rights and religious liberty of the Romeikes are clearly being violated. It's one thing to disagree with the German government's policy on homeschooling; it's quite another thing for the U.S. to grant asylum to German homeschooling families. By the same token, the people of Germany strongly disagreed with the War in Iraq but that doesn't mean Germany was prepared grant an American soldier asylum in their country.

Indeed, U.S. soldier Andre Shepherd applied for asylum in Germany in 2008 after deserting his base the previous year in order to avoid being deployed to Iraq for a second tour of duty. Shepherd argued that he would be forced to commit war crimes if he was sent back to Iraq. In 2011, Germany saw fit to deny Shepherd his request for asylum.

But if the U.S. were to grant the Romeikes refugee status, that decision could prompt Germany to revisit their decision in the Shepherd case. Mischief would ensue representing a mockery and gross abuse of the refugee system which is truly intended to protect those who would face torture or death if they were to return to their home country. Neither the Romeikes nor Shepherd would face torture or death if they were to be deported back to Germany and the U.S., respectively. 

As the old adage goes, "Be careful for what you wish because you might get it."

With that said, if this country plans to provide some sort of amnesty or pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants then I think this remedy should be extended to the Romeikes should the Supreme Court rule against them. 

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