Sen. Bernie Sanders’ new deputy national press secretary likely won’t be eligible to vote in the 2020 election due to what she says is her status as an undocumented immigrant.
The hiring of Belen Sisa, an Arizona leftist activist, was announced Wednesday evening. Sisa, who says she was brought to this country illegally from Argentina by her parents at age six, is currently protected from deportation under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.
Despite her immigration status, Sisa has remained active in liberal politics over the years. In 2016, she worked as a page to the Arizona delegation at the Democratic National Convention and in Latino outreach for Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
“For someone who was so scared of participating in anything, and coming out and doing this, it’s pretty hard to believe I’m standing in the middle of it all,” she said at the time.
Sisa soon lost her fear of participation. She has been arrested at least twice for protests throughout her activist career. As a college senior in 2017, she was jailed for her role in a sit-in outside of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s, D-N.Y., office. While in jail, Sisa told reporters that she organized a “prison strike.”
Just weeks before that, she was arrested for a protest outside the Senate Hart Office Building. Both protests were over immigration reform and a demand that Congress pass the DREAM Act — a bill that would permanently legalize children who were brought into the country illegally — “cleanly,” without extraneous provisions.
“She’s so brave,” Sisa’s mother said at the time. “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.