ASU DACA recipient released from jail after six-day hunger strike

Belen Sisa is continuing her advocacy for a Clean Dream Act after a six-day hunger strike in a Washington D.C. jail.

ASU senior and DACA recipient Belen Sisa was released from jail in Washington, D.C. Wednesday evening following a six-day hunger strike while incarcerated. 



The hunger strike was part of an action intended to pressure Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Florida Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo to reject any spending bill which does not include a Clean Dream Act. 

Sisa and seven others, now revealed to be six undocumented youth and one ally, were arrested on Friday after a demonstration in front of Schumer's office. Once in jail, they went on a hunger strike and refused to give authorities their names, risking deportation.

According to a press release by Our Dream, they will now "join hundreds of undocumented youth [who] are currently in Washington, D.C. who continue to press Sen. Schumer and Congress on #NoDreamNoDeal."



Sisa's stepfather, Dan O'Neal, said Sisa is feeling "strong" and "happy to be out".

"She's dedicated to continue whatever they need to do," O'Neal said. "Our demand is for a Clean Dream Act."

Although the original plan was to stay in jail until Sen. Schumer publicly confirmed they collected enough votes to block a spending bill which includes a Clean Dream Act, O'Neal said the "Dream 7" decided to give their names to leave jail and hold a press conference to "amplify the reason they were in there".

At a press conference Thursday morning, Sisa told her story. She was brought to the United States when she was 6-years-old from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has lived here ever since.

"This is my home no matter what anyone says," Sisa said at the conference.

Sisa said the longer she spent in jail, the more she thought about what it would be like for other detained undocumented youth without a Clean Dream Act.

"The inhumanity of this moment could not be any clearer, and I can tell you that because we were inside and we experienced it," Sisa said. "My callout is to Senator Schumer and Representative Curbelo, that if we have the courage to risk it all, why don't you?"

On Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R – Ariz.) tweeted that a bipartisan DACA bill would be on the Senate floor in January. And on Wednesday, he tweeted his support for a letter sent to congressional leadership by a bipartisan coalition of governors calling for legislative protections for DACA recipients.  



O'Neal says he is "extremely hopeful" and believes moderate lawmakers such as Sen. Flake and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D – Ariz.) can help broker a bipartisan solution for DACA recipients. 


Reach the reporter at flatifi@asu.edu or follow @fortesalatifi on Twitter.

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