Howard Friedman, Religion Clause
In a case that has been closely followed by home-school advocates, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals this week denied asylum to a German family that claimed persecution because of Germany’s ban on home schooling. As reported by RNS, the evangelical Christian family prefers home schooling largely for religious reasons. In Romeike v. Holder, (6th Cir., May 14, 2013), in an opinion by Judge Sutton, the court said in part:
When the Romeikes became fed up with Germany’s ban on homeschooling and when their prosecution for failure to follow the law led to increasingly burdensome fines, they came to this country with the hope of obtaining asylum. Congress might have written the immigration laws to grant a safe haven to people living elsewhere in the world who face government strictures that the United States Constitution prohibits. But it did not. The relevant legislation applies only to those who have a “well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(42)(A). There is a difference between the persecution of a discrete group and the prosecution of those who violate a generally applicable law. As the Board of Immigration Appeals permissibly found, the German authorities have not singled out the Romeikes in particular or homeschoolers in general for persecution.
Judge Rogers wrote a short concurring opinion in addition to joining the majority opinion.