Bernie Sanders’ newest deputy national press secretary won’t be able to cast a vote for her boss in the 2020 presidential election.
That’s because Belén Sisa, a millennial Arizona left-wing activist who joined the Democrat’s staff this week, claims to be an illegal immigrant.
“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 on Facebook, recalling her younger self, as she announced her new job.
“I can’t help but think of the generations of sacrifice my family has had to do for me to get here. Never in our wildest dreams did we think I’d be making moves like these,” she added.
The activist, who previously went viral in 2017 after posting a photo of herself paying taxes in an effort to change people’s perceptions about illegal immigrants, repeatedly said she was brought into the country illegally by her parents from Argentina when she was merely 6 years old.
She told multiple outlets that her stay in the U.S. is protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, introduced by the Obama administration.
In January, she appeared on CNN, where she was described as an undocumented “Dreamer” and spoke out about her immigration status being debated during the government shutdown.
“If [President Trump] truly cared about Dreamers, if he truly cared about undocumented youth, he would not be using us as bargaining chips through his tantrum of getting a wall that makes no sense,” she said.
“If [President Trump] truly cared about Dreamers, if he truly cared about undocumented youth, he would not be using us as bargaining chips through his tantrum of getting a wall that makes no sense.”
“It’s horrible. It’s really disappointing and saddening to see that the person who is supposed to hold this country together is doing nothing but dividing the American people by holding immigrant youth hostage.”
Sisa has been involved in politics since a young age and even worked as a page to the Arizona delegation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the Arizona Republic reported.
She told the newspaper in 2016 that while she initially supported Sanders’ campaign that year, she urged her family members, who have a right to vote, to back Hillary Clinton.
“Even though I can’t vote, I can get 200 people to vote, and that matters,” Sisa said. “Everything can change depending on who becomes the next president. Our voice is starting to matter, and we can have an impact even though we can’t cast a ballot ourselves.”
“Everything can change depending on who becomes the next president. Our voice is starting to matter, and we can have an impact even though we can’t cast a ballot ourselves.”
Sisa has also had troubles with the law, according to the Washington Examiner. She has reportedly been arrested multiple times for her activism, including for a sit-in outside the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
“She’s so brave,” Isabel O’Neal, Sisa’s mother, said about her daughter’s activism to a local publication. “DACA is expiring every day. Hers is going to expire in one year and what are we going to do with all of these youth? Congress has to pass the Dream Act.”