Some welcome refugees: German home schoolers granted asylum

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) reports:

In a case with international ramifications, Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the political asylum application of a German homeschooling family. The Romeikes are Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, who fled persecution in August 2008 to seek political asylum in the United States. The request was granted January 26 after a hearing was held in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 21.

“We can’t expect every country to follow our constitution,” said Judge Burman. “The world might be a better place if it did. However, the rights being violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.”

Burman added, “Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution…therefore, they are eligible for asylum…and the court will grant asylum.”

In his ruling, Burman said that the scariest thing about this case was the motivation of the government. He noted it appeared that rather than being concerned about the welfare of the children, the government was trying to stamp out parallel societies—something the judge called “odd” and just plain “silly.” In his order the judge expressed concern that while Germany is a democratic country and is an ally, he noted that this particular policy of persecuting homeschoolers is “repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”

Homeschooling did not always have such a settled status as a human right in the U.S., or such vocal champions in the courts as this judge.  It took a lot of work over many years by homeschooling activists and supporters to get it where it is today. And there are still some who would deny homeschoolers their rights; I won’t recount recent horror stories, but you can check around on the HSLDA website if you’re interested. But in Germany, the report says,

The persecution of homeschoolers in Germany has been intensifying over the past several years. They are regularly fined thousands of dollars, threatened with imprisonment, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate.

There have been custody cases here in which homeschooled children were taken away, but at least it’s not national policy.  This is a wonderful use of asylum, and I applaud Judge Burman. I hope the decision helps Germany realize the error of its ways.

Hat tip: Mere Comments

Addendum:  Ann points out that we hope Germany will be as rigorous stamping out parallel Muslim societies as they are with Christian homeschoolers!

US Conference of Catholic Bishops lobbying for Obamacare and Amnesty

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops(USCCB) is one of the largest of the Top Ten (now nine) federal refugee resettlement government contractors.   Most people are shocked when they first learn that US taxpayers give tens of million of dollars to the ‘religious’ organization each year to bring impoverished immigrants to their towns.  We have addressed the USCCB, its funding and its progressive politics on many occasions at RRW, see here here, here, here, and here just for starters.

Yesterday, Cliff Kincaid, writing at Accuracy in Media, has another hard charging article about the role of the Bishops in pushing Obamacare and Amnesty.

Calling health care a “right” to be guaranteed by the federal government, America’s Catholic Bishops are trying to save ObamaCare at a time when the legislation has been pronounced in limbo, dying or dead by most of the media.
The evidence of intensive Catholic Bishop lobbying activity suggests that liberal Congressional leaders are going to give the legislation a temporary respite so that liberal Catholics can be persuaded to pressure Congress to pass both national health care legislation and “comprehensive immigration reform” in the form of H.R. 4321, the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity” Act.

As AIM has documented, lobbying by the Catholic Bishops and their representatives, who worked closely with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, guaranteed passage of the health care bill in the House.

In a January 13 conference call and briefing, Kevin Appleby, a representative of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, explained in frank language why the Bishops are so desperate to pass the health care and immigration bills. He said that the Bishops want a federal health plan to absorb the costs being borne by the nation’s 600 Catholic hospitals to cover illegal aliens.

I continue to be amazed at refugee resettlement agencies that are lobbying for the legalization of immigrants who came here illegally because the millions of new legal immigrants that would be created overnight would be in direct competition with the tens of thousands of legal refugees desperately looking for work.  The only explanation, as I said yesterday in my report on a posting at New Zeal, is that it is all about politics and Democratic Leftwing voter rolls, not about the well-being of the immigrants themselves. 

Kincaid goes on:

In addition, the Bishops openly state in their letter that they want “undocumented persons”–illegal aliens–to be able to purchase insurance in the new health care exchange established by the federal government.

Gabino Zavala, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the San Gabriel region, has written an article noting that the religious left, which he describes as “religious leaders and faith-based organizations,” have been pushing for a national health care system “for decades.” He adds, “Catholic bishops have been leading advocates for universal health care as a fundamental human right, not simply a luxury for the privileged few.”

The religious left, led by the Catholic Bishops, may represent the only way that liberals in Congress can ultimately succeed in passing ObamaCare. But that assumes that conservative Catholics will not resist the push to use church resources to give amnesty and federal benefits to illegal aliens as a way to take Catholic hospitals off the hook for many of their health care costs.

Left-wing Huffington Post blogger John Gehring notes with pride and pleasure that the Catholic bishops have “signaled they will play a leading role in pushing for comprehensive immigration reform this year by using the power of their pulpits and bipartisan political influence on Capitol Hill” and that the recent briefing was designed “to outline plans for persuading the public and wavering members of Congress that fixing a broken immigration system is a moral and practical priority.”

Look for postcards in your churches soon!  I wonder how much federal taxpayer money is going into a lobbying campaign to work against the taxpayers?

The Huffington Post’s Gehring said that Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City and Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, New York, who are respective chairmen of the U.S. bishops’ committees on migration and international policy, have announced that over a million postcards “touting the need for immigration reform have been ordered by dioceses and parishes across the country” and that the cards will be sent to congressional offices.

The campaign is being run by the Justice for Immigrants campaign, an official project of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The pre-written postcards say, “I am a concerned constituent and agree with the U.S. Catholic bishops that the U.S. immigration system is broken and is in need of repair. I ask that this year you support immigration reform legislation that keeps immigrant families together, adopts smart and humane enforcement policies, and ensures that immigrants without legal status register with the government and begin a path toward citizenship. Our families and communities cannot wait!”

Please read the rest of Kincaid’s article.  There is more, although I took a lot above because it was so packed with information I could hardly figure out where to cut it!

The Catholic Church has every right to whip up its members on issues before Congress, but their needs to be a federal audit to try to discover if they are using tax dollars to influence Congress!  It has been our view at RRW, that churches resettling refugees should be funded by their own members and not the general public because frankly it is difficult to keep the pots of money separate.  We also know refugees have been neglected by their resettlement agencies so this lobbying activity makes us suspicious about whether there exists an appropriate firewall between funding sources.

Just a reminder it was only a few weeks ago that we learned that the Epicopal Church was balancing its books with refugee resettlement funding.

LOL!  Coincidentally I just saw this blogger, an Angry Catholic, disavowing the connections between the Bishops and Progressives and Far Left political activities, here.  In light of what we know now, that is a stretch.

Haitians not “refugees” but “evacuees” says NC refugee coordinator

The issue of what status the Haitians would have must have been brewing in an already overloaded North Carolina refugee program for the question to have come up. 

We’ve had extensive coverage of the turmoil in Greensboro recently with refugees living in substandard housing, church leaders angry with resettlement agencies and with refugees trying to figure out how to get out of Greensboro and North Carolina where the unemployment rate is one of the top ten highest in the nation.

This is from Star News:

North Carolina has been resettling increasing numbers of refugees, from about 1,200 in 2006 to nearly 2,300 in 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

It’s the 10th-largest state for resettling refugees, accepting about four percent of the national total, according to Marlene Myers, the state refugee coordinator.

Someone must have been asking if NC was bringing more refugees—the Haitians.

Myers said that it was not yet determined how many Haitians might come to North Carolina, or where in the state they might go. But they would be classified as “evacuees,” not refugees, so a different agency in the N.C. Division of Social Services would be in charge of placing them. Since Interfaith Refugee Ministry deals with political refugees intending to settle permanently in the U.S., it will not be dealing with Haitian refugees.

Refugee or evacuee doesn’t really matter—either one is cared for by the taxpayers.  The only difference, as Myers makes clear, is it will just be different agencies spending your money.

Obama Administration to forge ahead on Amnesty

This is probably one of many stories that we will receive on the issue of Obama’s plans to move ahead with so-called Comprehensive Immigration Reform (aka Amnesty for illegal aliens) this year.  From the Immigration Policy Center (hat tip: Ellen).

In the face of many studies to the contrary (Rubenstein here and Rector here), his theme will be that low-wage workers bring economic benefit to the US (maybe to the meatpackers, some of which are foreign-owned!). 

In the State of the Union Address this evening President Obama made clear his ongoing commitment to immigration reform noting “we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system – to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.” Some may continue to argue that immigration reform is too politically risky to move on this year and that we should focus instead on rebuilding our economy. However, comprehensive immigration reform is compatible with economic reform as it would generate needed economic growth, create jobs and increase tax contributions by ensuring that everyone working in the United States is doing so legally. In fact, immigration reform would allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities for economic growth that immigrants bring.

Read the whole article.

You go for it Obama—throw more red meat to the Tea Partiers!   I consider that devastating defeat for Progressives on the Kennedy/McCain Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill as the first organized action by the Tea Party forces.  Of course, there was no Tea Party label in 2007, but it was the seminal event that showed Conservative grassroots that they could join forces and win with all odds stacked against them—even President Bush was on the side of amnesty.