Judge Barry Tatum, a family court judge in Wilson County, Tennessee, has been ordering foreign-born mothers to learn English for the benefit of their children. It has raised the ire of the ACLU and civil rights attorney Jerry Gonzalez, who claims the orders are unconstitutional. Tatum says he is simply trying to give the children a chance at opportunities they may miss because their mothers do not speak English and that he is not doing it to "Americanize" immigrants.
This is sure to turn into an ugly battle, but we here at Diggers Realm applaud judge Barry Tatum and wish he were doing it to "Americanize" immigrants as well. If you're going to get custody of your child in the US -- and plan on staying here -- you should be shown to be a fit parent who is trying to raise your child with as many chances at success as possible. One of the main things is that your child is brought up fluent in English so that they don't have problems at school in the future. The particular child in the story below is 2-years-old.
In a case this week, Judge Barry Tatum insisted that an 18-year-old Mexican woman take language classes and consider using birth control.
"A parent has the right to raise a child the way they see fit, but government gets involved at some point," Tatum said. "I'm concerned about the civil rights of the child and what will happen to her."
The immigrant woman and her American-born toddler both entered the state's custody in 2003.
A complaint was made to state child protection officials, accusing the mother of neglecting her baby by not following up on immunizations and other shots, said K. Danielle Edwards, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Children's Services.
Luis Bustillos, a probation officer in Davidson County who also considers himself a Hispanic activist, said he didn't disagree with Tatum's ruling. "It's not controversial," he said. "As long as they are with their own people, there's no need for them to learn English. When they go work, they need to communicate in English."
Bustillos said he came to this country in 1964 from Bolivia.
"It was very hard for me when I came here to learn English," he said. "We need to bring the message to the community that if they (learn English), they will improve their status."
The ACLU plans to file a complaint against judge Tatum and to possibly request a monitor be assigned to his courtroom.