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Visiting Right for Immigrant

June 08, 2005|From Associated Press

LEBANON, Tenn. — A Mexican immigrant mother who was once told to learn English or risk losing her child was granted temporary visitation rights Tuesday.

Wilson County Circuit Court Judge Clara Byrd approved a settlement giving custody of Felipa Barrera's daughter Linda, 11, to the child's father but allowed the mother visitation.

The judge will review the case in October to see if the child is doing well at her father's home, where she is set to move July 24. Both parents live in Lebanon.

The girl was placed in a foster home about a year ago after she told investigators her mother yanked her ear and her sister-in-law hit her with a stick.

In October, a juvenile court judge told Barrera that she would need to show basic English proficiency, but he backed down at a later hearing.

Barrera has denied hitting her daughter. Her lawyers have said their client would not be in court if she were not a poor immigrant who speaks only Mixteco, an indigenous Mexican language.

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