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The Department of Homeland Security verbally informed the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) that the Romeike family is being granted indefinite deferred action status. The department said this meant the order of removal would not be acted on and that the Romeikes could stay.
HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris is thrilled.
"This is an incredible victory that I can only credit to almighty God," he said. "I also want to thank those who spoke up on this issue—including that long-ago White House petition. We believe that the public outcry made a huge impact. What an amazing turnaround in just 24 hours."
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a denial of the Romeike family's petition for certiorari, sparking an immediate and unprecedented reaction. Fox News told HSLDA that it recorded 1 million pageviews of the Romeikes' story in 24 hours—an all-time high. Although many were not surprised by the Supreme Court's decision, it seemed that this was the last hope for the family to avoid being sent back to Germany, where they would undoubtedly be persecuted for home schooling their children.
Uwe Romeike says he is extremely grateful for the support and welcome he has received from America.
"We are happy to have indefinite status, even though we won't be able to get American citizenship anytime soon," he says. "As long as we can live at peace here, we are happy. We have always been ready to go wherever the Lord would lead us—and I know my citizenship isn't really on Earth. This has always been about our children. I wouldn't have minded staying in Germany if the mistreatment targeted only me—but our whole family was targeted when German authorities would not tolerate our decision to teach our children. That is what brought us here."
"Our entire family is deeply grateful for all the support of our friends and fellow home schoolers and especially HSLDA," he continues. "I thank God for His hand of blessing and protection over our family. We thank the American government for allowing us to stay here and to peacefully home school our children. It's all we ever wanted."
HSLDA Director of International Affairs Mike Donnelly pointed out that the only reason the Romeikes had to come to America was because of Germany's repressive policy toward home schoolers.
"Germany's persecution of home-schooling parents continues and is one reason, I suspect, that [the Department of Homeland Security] was willing to grant the family indefinite status," Donnelly says. "How could our country send this loving, peaceful family back to be crushed by outrageous fines, criminal prosecution and the loss of their children? Today Germany is holding another family prisoner only because they wanted to leave to go to France to home school their children. How could we send the Romeikes back to be treated like that?"
Donnelly continues, "HSLDA is determined to continue working in support of beleaguered home-schooling families in Germany and other countries. The right of parents to decide how their children should be educated is a fundamental human right. The United States got it right in this case, and we call on Germany to change its policy so that parents in Germany can home school their children in peace."
Farris says there is no way he would have let the family go back to Germany.
"When we lost at the 6th Circuit," he says, "I told Uwe that he would go back to Germany over my dead body. I'm glad that wasn't necessary! This is a courageous family and one that deserves to stay here. They are modern-day Pilgrims."
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