which he passed to several other family members. U.S. authorities thought they
got on the plane to Germany, but a doctor had told them not to fly. They missed
the flight and were taken in by friends in Colorado.
They spent the next few years in Nevada, including in Sandy Valley and a long-term stay in Pahrump. The children went to school while Johann Lindmeier worked at various places, including bakeries in Las Vegas. Johannes, the oldest son, graduated in 2009 from Pahrump Valley High School. Anita Lindmeier gave birth to their ninth child, Elisabeth. Meanwhile, Johann Lindmeier continued working on adjusting their status, to no avail.
After graduation, Johannes Lindmeier ran into the same problems as other immigrant children without legal residency. He was in ROTC but could not join the military. He could not find work and could not afford college.
In 2010, the Lindmeiers' U.S.-born son David fractured his hand and the family found it difficult to find medical care. It was four weeks before they found a surgeon to perform the work needed.
Finally, after 16 years in the country and several fruitless attempts to adjust their status, the family sought asylum in Canada. Six of their nine children were born in the United States and did not speak German.
In Canada, the Lindmeiers say, authorities convinced them to return to the United States, where immigration officials would help them. The family members say they agreed, only to be treated with hostility once they crossed back over the border. Johann and Johannes, the two adult males, were placed in detention. Anita and the rest of the children were released.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say they then initiated the removal proceedings from a decade prior. Johann and Johannes Lindmeier were deported in August 2010, and Anita followed with the rest of the children less than two weeks later.
In Germany, the Lindmeiers' children, especially the U.S.-born ones, have struggled to find work and complete school. Additionally, they have been unable to find permanent housing, due in large part to the size of their family, and were taken in by a monastery for two years.
"We tried moving to Canada to give (our children) a chance to graduate and not be stuck with a foreign language they never really understood," Anita Lindmeier said from Germany. "That was also the reason why we agreed to come back from the Canadian border to the U.S., because they promised to fix everything and help us. Then our children could have graduated high school instead of being stuck here in Germany without any diplomas, a messed-up education and no hope of a good future. ... Our own country has turned into a foreign country for all of us, because in 20 years almost everything has changed here."
They continue to yearn to return to the United States.
Puna -- the Sun agreed to use her nickname because of her concerns over deportation -- was born in Western Samoa, now officially called the Independent State of Samoa. Her children, on the other hand, were all born in American Samoa and thus are U.S. nationals -- they have entry rights to the United States but cannot vote in presidential elections.
Puna, 52, worked as a tuna packer for the Starkist company in American Samoa for 30 years. After she and her husband divorced and her children moved to the
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