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ASU Senior and DACA recipient arrested in Washington D.C.

Belen Sisa was arrested in Washington D.C. on Friday and is taking part in a jail strike.

ASU political science senior and DACA recipient Belen Sisa poses for a portrait in the Memorial Union on ASU's Tempe campus on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. Sisa is one of 260 DACA students currently attending ASU whose future education is uncertain after President Donald Trump terminated the DACA program in September.

ASU senior and DACA recipient Belen Sisa was arrested in Washington D.C. on Friday after taking part in a sit-in outside Sen. Chuck Schumer's office as part of a fight for a Clean Dream Act.

Sisa, a political science senior, and seven other undocumented youth were arrested and are currently in jail in Washington D.C. as part of an action organized by The Seed Project. They are refusing to leave the jail or identify themselves to the authorities until Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Republican Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo "publicly confirm that they have whipped the votes to block any spending bill that does not include a Clean Dream Act." 

Curbelo, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, in a tweet Friday said he's committed to voting no on any spending bill without a solution for DACA students. 

The arrest comes just five weeks after Sisa was arrested for the first time after protesting in front of the Senate Hart building.

Isabel O'Neal, Sisa's mother, said she's proud of her daughter's courage but worried.

"She's so brave," O'Neal said. "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.

"I'm desperate," she said, her voice breaking. "It's so sad. I know America is better than this."

Korina Iribe, an ASU graduate student and DACA recipient who is the advocacy director of the student group Undocumented Students for Education Equity believes actions like the one Sisa took are necessary.

"It really shows the faces of the people affected," Iribe said. "Everyone that was arrested was undocumented. It shows the urgency in our lives. People are losing their status. We're on a ticking time bomb here."

Actions like sit-ins and arrests can draw attention in ways other actions don't, Iribe said.

"This is a call to the general public to highlight the inhumanity of the moment we're living in," Iribe said.

Iribe is worried about how Sisa is doing in jail, but says her friend has an "incredible spirit" and is "very aware of the repercussions of the actions she takes."

In a statement on, Sisa said she decided to participate in the sit-in and risk deportation because she is "tired of living with the constant stress and anxiety of not knowing what future will look like in the next few month."

Editor's Note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available

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