politics

She Went Viral For Showing That Undocumented People Pay Taxes, Now She’s On Sanders’ Campaign

belensisa / Instagram

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has added a new face to his 2020 campaign team in Belén Sisa. The addition is notable because Sisa made national headlines when she posted a selfie showing the undocumented people pay taxes. Sisa part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Her protected status is reportedly set to expire this year which could create some unwanted attention for her and Sanders.

Sisa has frequently spoken out about DACA and other issues important to the immigrant community which, at times, has gotten her in trouble.

Credit: @belensisaw/Twitter

Sisa wrote about the news on Facebook recognizing the importance of her position and the path it took to get there. For an undocumented person to be working on a political campaign is something that doesn’t happen often.

“This is really emotional for me. I can’t help but think of 18-year-old Belén, who felt hopeless and powerless to the anti-immigrant attacks and policies that were holding her back from her dreams,” Sisa wrote in a now deleted Facebook post.  

Sisa, who is is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and lives in Phoenix, Arizona, is a huge advocate for immigration rights. She graduated from Arizona State University in 2018 where Sisa was vocal about DACA and abolishing ICE. Sisa was even arrested twice for participating in various protests.

Sisa isn’t a stranger to working on Sanders’ campagins.

While the appointment of deputy press secretary is new, Sisa has previously worked for Sanders. In 2016, she worked as a page to the Arizona delegation at the Democratic National Convention and in Latino outreach for Sanders’ 2016 campaign. The appointment is also indicative of Sanders pro-DACA platform that has become one of his notable campaign rallying cries. Sisa

Sisa has been a vocal and visual activist for undocumented and DACA people like herself.

Credit:Belen Sisa/Facebook

The 25-year-old gained national attention in 2017 when a photo of her paying taxes in an effort to counter stereotypes of immigrants went viral. Sisa tried reminding people that many undocumented immigrants are not just taking from the country, but making noticeable contributions.

At the time she wrote on Facebook about her experience and the importance of immigrants in the country.

“So here I go again.. #2017 tax forms in hand: MYTH BUSTER: I, an undocumented immigrant, just filed my federal and state taxes in the state of Arizona. In fact, I pay sales tax and every other kind of tax you can think of. I cannot receive financial aid from the state or federal government for school, I cannot benefit from unemployment, a reduced healthcare plan, or a retirement fund. I think I’m a pretty good citizen. Oh and there are MILLIONS just like me who pay into a system they will never receive anything from. Wanna tell me again how I should be deported, contribute nothing and only leech off this country while the 1% wealthiest people in this country steal from you everyday? How about you show me yours President Donald J. Trump? #HereToStay. #UndocumentedUnafraid.”

It’s unclear what will happen when Sisa’s DACA status expires by the end of this year.

While her current role is clear, it’s important to note that Sisa’s DACA status will be expiring this year. That might cause some unwanted attention for the Sanders campaign and Sisa herself.

But if it’s any indication of Sisa, she has shown she is not afraid to voice her views and stand up for what she believes in. All that matters for her right now is being in a position she and previous generations had to fight for her to be in.

“I can’t help but think of the generations of sacrifice my family has had to do for me to get here,” Sisa said in her announcement post. “Never in our wildest dreams did we think I’d be making moves like these.”

READ: Here’s What ICE Is Saying About The Arrest Of 23-Year-Old Mexican DACA Recipient

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Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen Has Resigned, Here's What Happened Under Her Tumultuous Tenure

politics

Homeland Security Chief Kirstjen Nielsen Has Resigned, Here’s What Happened Under Her Tumultuous Tenure

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is stepping down in a move that signals the end of a controversial tenure. During her short time as secretary, Nielsen oversaw the “zero tolerance” policy in 2018 that resulted in the separation of thousands of families attempting to cross at the US-Mexico border. President Trump tweeted about Nielsen stepping down amidst reports that he wasn’t satisfied with her performance. This comes as the number of Central American people illegally entering the country has surged, which was a big factor in Nielsen’s resignation. While Nielsen might be leaving, the damage to the U.S. immigration system is done and the victims of the cruel policies are forever changed by the experience. Here’s Nielsen’s legacy at DHS.

More than 2,700 families were separated, two children died, and troops were deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border during Kirstjen Nielsen’s leadership.


Credit: @MariaTeresa1 / Twitter

Nielsen will be remembered for overseeing the widespread separation of children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border last year. More than 2,500 children were separated from their parents, including families legally presenting themselves at the border for asylum. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the program in May 2018. President Trump later folded and rescinded the policy after pressure from both parties.

She had defended the “zero tolerance” policy for border crossings and continued to insist there was no official policy for separating families. However, the fact remains that the Trump administration did implement the policy and Nielsen’s Department of Homeland Security enforced it.

As the number of asylum seekers grew and caravans headed to the U.S-Mexico border, Nielsen requested more help.

Credit: @MrFilmkritik / Twitter

Last October, 5,200 troops were deployed to support 16,500 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers along the southern border to help with the incoming caravan. Many called the move an election-year ploy to incite hatred and fear.

It was the death of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl, Jakelin Caal Maquin, who died under CBP custody on Dec. 8 that got people talking. Maquin’s death occurred just days after she was apprehended and reignited the emotional debate over immigration in Congress.

Nielsen oversaw a huge increase in immigration detention that has been widely criticized for inhumane conditions.


Credit: @IllhanMN / Twitter

Nielsen has presided over a record number in immigration detentions due to controversial policies. The number of detained immigrants had grown from slightly over 40,000 in fall 2018 to 50,000 in early 2019. Images of children in chain link cages where a common sight in many of these facilities and caused an uproar with many immigration rights groups.

She was also behind the Migrant Protection Protocols where hundreds of Central American asylum seekers have been sent back to Mexico to wait for their U.S. immigration court dates. The policy, which was announced in January, was struck down by a federal judge on Monday.

The resignation also comes days after the U.S. government said it could take up to two years to reunite migrant children separated at the border with their parents due to poor record keeping prior to April 2018.

The resignation got a reaction from many in Congress who are hopeful to see change in the department.


Credit: @SenKamalaHarris / Twitter

Senator Kamala Harris tweeted that Nielsen’s resignation was “long overdue” and wouldn’t support a new nominee that “does not forcefully denounce this administration’s policy of separating families at the border.

Hilary Clinton chimed in as well saying even after the resignation, nothing much has changed. “Let’s be clear: This administration’s dehumanization and cruelty toward migrants will not stop after Kirstjen Nielsen leaves office. It is their principal policy,” Clinton tweeted.

What’s next for the Department of Homeland Security and will anything change after Nielsen’s resignation?

According the NY Times, President Trump had requested that Nielsen close ports of entry along the border and to stop accepting asylum seekers, which she didn’t agree with. Nielsen cited federal laws and international commitments that made closing ports of entry and rejecting asylum seekers illegal. This fueled Nielsen’s resignation and is a signal that the administration is looking to push tougher border policies.

In her resignation letter, Nielsen said it was the right time for her to step down. She also noted that her successor would need to make changes to existing immigration laws before the border could be secured.

It was announced less than a day later that Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Protection, will serve as acting DHS secretary until a formal successor is nominated.

While Nielsen’s tenure was marked with controversy, it was also fueled by an administration determined to make a statement with it’s policies at the border. With a growing number of asylum requests and overcrowded detention centers, Nielsen’s departure was expected.

While Trump could nominate someone who is “more aggressive” when it comes to border policy, he’s going to have to get through the U.S. Senate. If the Trump administration has proven anything is it doesn’t matter who leaves their position because they’ll find someone who will satisfy their demands.

READ: Autopsy Report Shows Jakelin Caal Maquin Died Of A Bacterial Infection, Not Dehydration As Trump Alleges