Wait a minute, Righty. Aren't we meant to be cowering in fear of the unwashed masses who claim to be fleeing oppressive governments, but who are really seeking asylum in our city on a hill with evil in their hearts? Burrowing like rats into the safe places hidden behind the walls of suburban America, waiting to burst forth with unspeakable violence? Or something? Something really scary to derail immigration reform?
Apparently there will always be room at the inn for the right kind of immigrant or asylum seeker. Happily for the xenophobic right, since the collapse of European communism most of the nice white Christian foreign types no longer feel much need to seek refuge in our bastion of freedomz. But if you're far enough out on the right wing political fringe, even a politically mature democratic republic and staunch US ally like, say, Germany isn't freedomy enough for comfort.
Enter Ewe and Hannelore Romeike, the Christian Right's favorite asylum seekers. The Romeikes fled Germany in 2008 ito escape [drumroll, please] public education!
So why exactly are the Romeikes fleeing? By at least one measure of academic achievement, German schoolkids do pretty well for themselves in math and science despite an oppressively unChristian curriculum. Perhaps therein lies the problem: too much science, not enough Jesus. In Uwe Romeike's words:
The curriculum goes against our Christian values... German schools use textbooks that force inappropriate subject matter onto young children and tell stories with characters that promote profanity and disrespect.Really? What, were they reading the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or something? Anyway, whatever the exact nature of the oppression meted out by the German education thugs, the Romeikes did what any self-respecting Christian extremists would do, and took their kids out of public schools. Sadly for them, the Germans take education seriously, and don't play around with home-made school. The Romeikes faced fines under German law, and claim that they feared losing custody of their kids. So they packed up and moved to Tennessee. US homeschoolers to the rescue!
Hannelore [Romeike] tells TIME the family was contacted by the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which suggested they go to the U.S. and settle in Morristown, Tenn. The nonprofit organization... is expanding its overseas outreach. And on Jan. 26, the HSLDA helped the Romeikes become the first people granted asylum in the U.S. because they were persecuted for homeschooling.Wait, aren't there private schools in Germany that might have offered a less extreme solution? Well, yes. But, they are still apparently supposed to meet national curriculum standards (evolution, anyone?), and they cost money (they want free lunch with their Freedomz!)
So the Romeikes settled in TN, resumed homeschooling, and applied for political asylum. In 2010 their request was granted by immigration judge Lawrence Berman in Memphis. However, ICE appealed the ruling, and it was overturned by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals. The Romeikes in turn appealed that decision, and now their case has been heard by a 3 judge panel of the Federal Appeals court.
If nothing else, they got about 5 years reprieve from secular education- - should be enough to shore up their kids' faith in the event they lose the appeal and are forced back into the den of iniquity that is German public education. And HSLDA got what it wanted, too: shiny white poster children to help them push their narrative of homeschoolers as some sort of disadvantaged minority. A measure of their success in this effort is demonstrated by a White House website petition, which garnered over 100k signatures.
Meanwhile Republican fear mongers in the US Congress continue to push the meme of immigration as a threat to national security.
Republicans, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, argued that the Boston bombing showed the need to fix and modernize the immigration system.Yup. It's only OK if you're a Republican/Christian/White/Privileged disadvantaged minority.