15 May 2013

US Court of Appeals Dismisses German Homeschooling Family's Asylum Case

What a great country we have.

An Immigration Judge gave this homeschooling family from Germany political asylum because the German government does not allow homeschooling and would forcibly remove the children from their parents if they attempted it.  The basis for the family's decision to homeschool was religious in nature.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides for a grant of political asylum to an alien who is unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution, by his government or by forces that the government cannot or will not control, on account of his race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

Longstanding Supreme Court precedent states that a fear is well-founded if it is subjectively held and also is objectively reasonable-- specifically, that there is at least a 10% chance of happening.

This case is tailor-made.

Except for one thing:  they are Christians.  No, make that two things: they are also homeschoolers.

I know immigration attorneys, and from experience it is obvious that in any case where religion is a ground for asylum that a Christian has a much tougher time obtaining relief than a comparable Muslim, Jewish, Jehovah's Witness, Falun Gong, Sikh, or other religious case.  Why?  Well, that seems obvious.

But homeschooling, pardon the expression, queers the deal here.  Why?  Because of the regime's attack on family and parental rights generally, of which homeschooling is  a subset.  Because your children belong to the state.

Anyway, a decision of an Immigration Judge, while binding for that particular alien, does not set precedent for other cases.  Therefore, the Immigration Judge's grant worked justice, gave this family their relief, and yet didn't set any general precedent that homeschooling was a protected or protect-able asylum ground.

This was not good enough for the current regime and its Injustice Department, which decided to appeal the grant to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  The BIA overturned the IJ's decision and ordered the family out.  It held there was no right to homeschool one's children, and that the German law was not therefore persecution.  This was the argument of the junta's lawyers.  Unlike a decision of an Immigration Judge, a BIA decision is precedential, and so in addition to the plight of this particular family it was vital for all alien's who face similar persecution that the family file for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Well, the regime continued its fight, and on the same terms.

The Sixth Circuit dismissed the case yesterday.  It upheld the removal of the family and the denial of their asylum claim.  The decision stops short of immediate total disaster, as it acknowledges that the U.S. Constitution "protects the rights of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control."  

However, it carries in it some potentially dangerous rationale. The Court held that the family did not prove persecution because the law against "truancy" was applied generally to all citizens, not just homeschoolers.  Because all Germans are forced to send their children to government schools, not just would-be homeschoolers, it is not unfairly targeted against homeschoolers.  Hence, it isn't persecution to fine, imprison or take children away from them.

Great-- except it could be applied like this:  all citizens are required to worship the antichrist, not just Christians.  Just because they have some religious objections to this doesn't make it persecution, because they aren't singled out.  

The problem of course is that most persecution works this way:  a tyrannical government doesn't need to harm a citizen that doesn't object to its tyranny.  Duh.

Well, the regime wins another round in its courts.  I would not be surprised to see that, victory in hand and lots of bad press on other fronts accosting it, the administration elects to grant status to this family anyway, in an exercise of pure discretion.

Rule of law aside.

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