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September 19, 2007

Authorities Threaten to Deport Homeschooling Missionaries

German officials appear to be more determined than ever to rid their country of influences that may contribute to the rise of what they call Parallelgesellschaften, parallel societies. Never mind that Germany has hundreds of thousands of genuinely truant youth hanging around street corners; school officials have determined that parents diligently educating their children at home are a greater danger to German society. Now it would seem that German officials are not content to go after their own citizens, but are also targeting American missionaries who homeschool.

Mr. Clint Robinson, his wife Susan and their three children came to Germany March 2, 2007. They had sold their possessions and left the United States to serve the Lord as missionaries. Initially, they were to work with the Bachmans, fellow American missionaries who have been working in Germany for nearly 20 years, and who had found a rental apartment for them.

Once the Robinsons arrived, they applied for their residency permit, something that everyone in Germany must have (so that the government knows where you live). In initial conversations, local authorities implied that they would never grant residency to independent Baptist missionaries, as they were already aware that these missionaries refuse to give their children over to the state school system.

In mid-August, the Robinsons finally received the denial in writing. Of course, the grounds given for this refusal was that it was in the best interest of the Germany to protect itself from the development of Parallelgesellschaften.

The Robinsons were given 45 days to leave the country or be “forcibly deported.” On September 14, Schulunterricht Zu Hause, an organization HSLDA helped start to defend homeschoolers in Germany, submitted an appeal to the Administrative Court in Ansbach on behalf of the Robinson family. The appeals process delays deportation.

The Robinsons are now working on a compromise that may result in a two-year visa, but to get it they will apparently be forced to promise they will leave at the end of that time and not seek an extension. The Robinsons reside at Parkstr. 28, 91486 Uehlfeld, Germany. Your prayers and letters would greatly encourage them.

Home School Legal Defense Association continues to support the efforts of Germans and others in Europe fighting for German homeschooling freedom. HSLDA is working with a variety of organizations and local German attorneys to file strategic litigation in German, European and other international courts to pressure German policy makers for change. Because Germany is a member of the European Union and signatory to a variety of UN declarations and other human rights protocols, it is possible to use the venues to bring attention to this issue.

Please continue to pray for your fellow home educators in Germany. This promises to be a long struggle to change popular opinion and the minds of policy makers in Germany to protect a basic human right—the right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.