Asylum can be granted to immigrants residing in the United States and facing removal. It can be granted on the basis that an individual or family fears persecution upon the return to their home country. In the case of one family from Germany, this was exactly the reason that the family of eight sought asylum when they were faced with deportation.
What prompted this fear of persecution? The family believes in education through homeschooling. Here in the United States, the family could act upon their parental right to freely choose how to educate their children. In Germany, that same choice is a punishable crime.
Homeschooling isn’t just a slap on the wrist in Germany either. The family understands that in other cases, families in Germany have been hit with extremely burdensome fines. Even others have been persecuted so far as to face imprisonment and the loss of their children as a result of the decision to school their children at home.
It has been a long road for this family, beginning with an initial ruling in 2010. This first ruling gave the family relief with a decision in their favor. That relief was only temporary as the asylum status was shortly taken away. The legal proceedings came to a close when the Supreme Court ruled late Monday that it had rejected the family’s appeal.
A Facebook page established to share the family’s story hit 1 million views in only 24 hours after the decision was made.
One can only speculate as to the effect that the online support had on the family’s case, but the family was surprised with the good news that the Department of Homeland Security had changed its mind. The agency granted the family “indefinite deferred action status” around the end of that 24-hour period.
The father said his family was more than grateful. Although he understands that citizenship may be much farther off in the future, he said that “as long as we can live at peace here, we are happy.”
It is a sentiment that some in Arizona may share. Those that face deportation should consult with a Flagstaff immigration attorney who is not only knowledgeable about the laws in the United States but understanding of the conditions these families would face should they be forced to leave.