Sanders hires DACA protected undocumented immigrant as deputy press secretary

Sanders hires DACA protected undocumented immigrant as deputy press secretary

Originally published by The Hill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has made a key addition to his 2020 campaign, adding Arizona activist Belén Sisa, who has declared herself an immigrant without legal status, to his team as a deputy press secretary.

The Washington Examiner initially reported the 25-year-old's addition to the campaign, noting a Facebook post from the activist that called the job an "emotional" moment. A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, Sisa's benefits and legal protections are reportedly set to expire in a year.

“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 her Facebook page, which now identifies her as a deputy press secretary.

"I cant 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," Sisa added in her announcement, which is dated Tuesday.

Sisa previously gained national attention in 2017 when a photo of her paying taxes in an effort to counter stereotypes of immigrants went viral.

“She's so brave,” her mother Isabel O'Neal told a local news station, according to Fox News. “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.”

Sisa told another news outlet in 2016 that while she could not vote, she hoped her activism would inspire others to support her candidate. The Arizona advocate for immigrant rights supported Sanders in his 2016 bid before supporting Hillary Clinton during the general election.

“Even though I can’t vote, I can get 200 people to vote, and that matters,” Sisa said at the time, according to the Arizona Republic. “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.”

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