Home School Legal Defense Association
March 25, 2010

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In a deeply disturbing notice, the United States Government Agency for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has lodged an appeal of Judge Lawrence Burman’s grant of asylum to the Romeike family. The appeal was sent to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Fairfax, Virginia on February 25. In it, the ICE called homeschoolers too “amorphous” to be a “particular social group” and that “United States law has recognized the broad power of the state to compel school attendance and regulate curriculum and teacher certification” as well as the “authority to prohibit or regulate homeschooling.”

On January 26, Judge Burman granted the Romeikes asylum after determining that the German government’s treatment of homeschoolers was “repellent to everything we believe as Americans,” and that Germany was denying the family “basic human rights.” The judge determined that the German state’s policy of imposing increasing and potentially crushing fines, the loss of custody of children, and possible criminal prosecution over homeschooling amounted to persecution. However, ICE pointed to the denial of an application in the European Court of Human Rights in the Konrad case as evidence that “the public education laws of Germany do not violate basic human rights.” ICE criticized Judge Burman for “improvidently disregard[ing]” the decision of the ECHR. In other words, it appears that ICE is arguing that U.S. judges should follow international law—rather than U.S. law.

Michael Smith, president of HSLDA, says that American courts should only rely on American law.

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