MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) — A German family living in Morristown facing deportation has received a one-year stay of removal according to Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger.
The Romeike family has lived in the United States for 15 years after facing legal battles to homeschool their five children, the Home School Legal Defense Administration said in September. In Germany, homeschooling children is essentially banned aside from in very rare circumstances, such as severe illness or if the child’s parents are diplomats, the BBC reports.
According to the Associated Press, the family was granted asylum in January of 2010. The HSLDA said the family was granted an “indefinite deferred action status” in the United States in 2014, but during a routine check-in in September 2023, the family was told that their deferred status had been revoked.
On October 6, Harshbarger released a statement, saying that the family had been granted a one-year stay of removal by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and that now Congress has time to consider her bill, H.R. 5423, that would give the family permanent residency in the United States.
“I appreciate that so many East Tennesseans were among the 100,000 Americans who petitioned support. In doing so, they conveyed firsthand knowledge of the Romeikes’ contributions to our Morristown community and support of their right to homeschool their children free from persecution.” Harshbarger said. “I would also like to thank the Home School Legal Defense Association for its guidance in helping me secure this one-year stay as a stopgap so my work to pass H.R. 5423 may continue.”
The bill, which is on the Congress website, specifically seeks to grant relief to the family members by granting them permanent resident status. The bill has been introduced in the house but was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Senator Marsha Blackburn also weighed in on the discussion on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, echoing a letter she sent to the Secretary of Homeland Security on September 27.
As millions of illegal aliens cross our southern border, the Biden admin has worked to remove the Romeike family, who came to TN legally after being persecuted for homeschooling. Following my letter & the work of so many, I am glad ICE has granted a 1-year stay of removal.Senator Marsha Blackburn wrote on X.
Blackburn’s letter primarily focused on an alleged double standard for the Romeike family who came to the United States legally and have lived in Morristown for more than a decade compared to “millions of illegal immigrants.”
If the bill does not pass, it is not clear what will happen to the family. The HSLDA reported that two of the family’s children are U.S. citizens and two of their other children have married American citizens.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated.