DACA recipient discusses growing up and the protests that landed her in jail

ASU student and DACA recipient Belen Sisa speaks about her experience fighting for a clean Dream Act

ASU senior Belen Sisa and her parents visited the U.S. from Argentina when she was 6 years old and overstayed their visas

She has been safe from deportation because of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. But with a new administration, came new uncertainties about Sisa’s future in the country. 

"Our whole purpose in coming to this country was for me to have a better opportunity, to have a better life, to have things that in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I'm from, we weren't able to have those things," she said.

Sisa says she grew up in a conservative area in Florence, Arizona. Immigration politics wasn't on her radar until high school, when she became more aware of the stigma her community had on immigrants. She says it took a lot of courage to come out as an immigrant in high school, but it was very liberating once she did.

"I didn't know what was going to happen once I told people, I actually had a lot of friends from high school stop being my friend once they found out I was undocumented," she said.

She first spoke in the public eye in 2013 when she told her story at the Arizona Democratic State Committee Meeting in 2013 in front of about 200 people. 

Sisa says when Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke about ending DACA in September, she was inspired to go to Washington D.C. to protest.

Since then she has captured media attention for her activism for a clean Dream Act, she even spent nearly a week in jail.

She describes her time in jail as traumatic.

"There are moments when you sit in there and you think why am I doing this, why am I putting myself through so much pain," she said.

But Sisa says the experience was worth it.

"At the end of the day you just have to think I'm doing this for a good cause, I'm doing this for so many people that want to be heard," she said.

Sisa studies political science at ASU and will be graduating in May.

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After Hour: ASU Archivist speaks about the history of the Arizona State–Arizona rivalry

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