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Family seeks asylum from persecution over Christian beliefs

In Miami, there are many people from other countries and their reasons for coming to the United States vary. One may be a refugee from a country torn by war or devastated by a natural disaster. Another may have come for the economic opportunities that America represents, hoping to obtain permanent legal status. With immigration law about to undergo a major reformation, it is also important to remember that some come here so that they can escape persecution for their beliefs.

A court battle has emerged over the desire of a German family to be given asylum. Their case is being heard by a state appeals court after Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed a lower court's ruling that gave it to them. The question seems to be over whether the family actually qualifies for asylum status.

The family came to the United States so that they could homeschool their children and raise them according to their Christian beliefs. Germany's laws prohibit parents from being able to do this and the family says they were legally persecuted, forced to pay fines and faced with property being confiscated. The question is whether the family's fear of being persecuted by the German legal system is enough to qualify for asylum.

This is not the first time that a German family has been prosecuted under German laws for religious beliefs and one study actually found that Germans view religion with hostility. If the appeals court upholds the lower court's decision to grant the family asylum, it could help others who are facing legal consequences because of their beliefs. For people seeking asylum, it may be a good idea to talk with an attorney about how they may be able to qualify.

Source: The Washington Free Beacon, "A Miscarriage of Justice ," Andrew Evans, April 3, 2013

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