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DACA recipient's post about paying her taxes goes viral

ASU political science junior and DACA student Belen Sisa took to Facebook Sunday to raise awareness about undocumented immigrants paying taxes

Belen Sisa poses for a photo with her tax returns on March 26, 2017.

Belen Sisa poses for a photo with her tax returns on March 26, 2017.

Belen Sisa, a political science junior and undocumented immigrant protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, took to Facebook Sunday morning to tell her followers she pays her taxes.

The post, which now has over 5,000 likes and 3,000 shares, challenges President Donald Trump to show his tax returns, as she holds her own.

“Wanna tell me again how I should be deported, contribute nothing and only leech off this country while the 1% wealthiest people in this country steal from you everyday? How about you show me yours Donald J. Trump? #HereToStay,” Sisa wrote in her post.

Sisa is an undocumented immigrant from Argentina, protected under DACA, a program that defers deportation for those brought to U.S. illegally as children.

The Facebook post aimed to raise awareness about undocumented immigrants who pay taxes and want to contribute to society, Sisa said.

“I did it with the best of intentions to just tell the truth and spread a message of the misconceptions that people have about undocumented immigrants,” Sisa said. “And then all of a sudden I’m like ‘What the hell? There’s so many shares and likes.’”

Sisa said she wasn’t looking for attention but wanted to show how she feels when tax season comes around.

“I get so angry because people say that we don’t have to pay taxes,” Sisa said. “I got mad and took the picture and made the post … hearing so many people spew lies and say that undocumented immigrants don’t pay taxes, that we contribute nothing to this country and we need to be sent back, and that we basically leech off of government programs like food stamps and financial aid, is completely untrue.”

That evening, Sisa said she began receiving hateful private Facebook messages. She took to Facebook again and posted screenshots of the messages to her profile.

“These people are trying to intimidate me, instill fear in me and make me basically sit down and shut up and I wasn’t going to let them bully me into doing that,” she said. “I’m lucky that I’m supported by people (and) that I’m a pretty confident person, but if this was a person who had a low self esteem or isn’t very confident in putting themselves out there … this could destroy a person.”

Oscar Hernandez, public policy junior and DACA student, said Sisa’s post brought up an important topic of paying taxes if you’re undocumented.

“We do pay our taxes because it is our responsibility to do so,” Hernandez said. “We are making money now that we have work permits. I think it is our duty to pay back the state and that’s why we do it.”

Hernandez seeing Sisa’s post about her taxes made him proud.

“I was very happy that she (posted) that,” Hernandez said. “It’s something that you hear all the time. When you talk immigration, taxes sort of come up.”

Randy Perez, a political science and public policy junior, said the negative attention Sisa’s post received didn’t surprise him.

“I am aware enough to realize that that does not represent a majority of people,” Perez said. “I know that it represents a really dangerous and vocal minority who are unwilling to see the humanity in other people."

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