Sunday, August 24 2014 12:56 AM EDT2014-08-24 04:56:42 GMT
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MORRISTOWN (WATE) -- A German family is seeking asylum in Morristown, partly because they have family and friends in the area. But the main reason the Romeikes are in East Tennessee is for the freedom to home school their children.
Uwe Romeike left Germany along with his wife and five children. They've been living in Morristown since August 2008.
"You know we are here and hope to stay," Uwe says.
They're just one family of thousands who seek asylum in the U.S. each year.
"I don't know if it's better in general, but just to have the freedom to decide what's best for your children, that's the main thing," Uwe explains.
Uwe, a music teacher, says his choice to home school in Germany cost them expensive fines, months of harassment from the government and having their children taken.
"They took the children by force. They were very rude," Uwe says.
It's currently illegal to home school in Germany. If the family had remained in the country, Romeike says the government could have tried to place his children in foster care.
Since their move to the states, their home schooling has stayed the same. The children spend abut four to five hours a day on academics, but their textbooks are in English instead of German.
"Of course it's a bit of a challenge to learn a new language," Uwe says, but one the family feels is well worth it.
The Home School Legal Defense Association is representing the family. Attorney Michael Donnelly says this case is very unusual, calling it the first of its kind in the U.S.
On Thursday, the family will talk with an immigration judge in Memphis to iron out the details of a final hearing.