DEAR HARRIETTE: I am being deported back to Mexico within the next few weeks. My kids are legal citizens here, so they will be able to stay with my mother. I’m scared to leave them because who knows when I’ll see them again. I have two daughters, and my youngest wants to come with me. How do I explain that she'll have a better life here, even if I’m in Mexico? -- Scared to Separate, Los Angeles
DEAR SCARED TO SEPARATE: During this period of intense focus on border patrol and deportation, I want to say that I am sorry that you have to leave this country. Since you do, you have some research to complete, and fast. Do you know where you are going when you get home? Is there someone there to receive you or a safe place you can go? Even though you do not want to, would you be able to take your daughter with you and care for her? You need to figure out your options. Even though it feels terrible now -- because it is -- it may be better for her to stay with you. Talk to your family members in Mexico, and determine what your options are upon your return.
If you continue to believe your daughter should stay with your mother, sit her down and explain what you expect her future to be -- and that you will be there for her, albeit from afar. If you can, set up a plan to talk to her via Skype or other video technology so that you can stay connected after you are separated. Consider free international calling via WhatsApp or other similar apps.
I am not trying to diminish how dire this situation is. When you talk to your daughter, do your best to calm and empower her to understand that your mother will take care of her, if that is your ultimate decision.