Arizona State University junior Belen Sisa took to Facebook to announce that she had paid her taxes. Sisa, an immigrant, was then attacked by dozens of strangers who sent her messages accusing her of lying, being a criminal, and saying they had reported her for deportation.
Sisa, 23, came to the U.S. from Argentina when she was 6 with her parents and they overstayed their visas, according to The Arizona Republic. Under President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Sisa is shielded from being deported.
With DACA, young immigrants without serious criminal records who came to the U.S. as children register with the government and in exchange are granted federal work permits and a two-year reprieve from deportation. They are also eligible for a Social Security number and driver's license.
Young people like Sisa in the DACA program are sometimes referred to as "dreamers," although it the name has no official meaning. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was never passed by Congress.
Sisa explained her situation in her Facebook post, alongside a picture of herself with a 1040 tax form:
MYTH BUSTER: I, an undocumented immigrant, just filed my taxes and PAID $300 to the state of Arizona. I cannot receive financial aid from the state or federal government for school, I cannot benefit from unemployment, a reduced healthcare plan, or a retirement fund. I think I'm a pretty good citizen. Oh and there are MILLIONS just like me who pay into a system they will never receive anything from. 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?
She concluded her post by tagging President Donald Trump and asking him to show her his tax form.
"I was hoping to kind of make a statement and educate people. What you’ve known all this time isn’t the truth," Sisa told The Arizona Republic of her Facebook post. "I decided to post it basically to bust the myth that immigrants don’t contribute and they don’t pay taxes to this country."
What Sisa received in return were multiple messages that accused her of being a liar and criminal, as well as claims that she had been reported to the government for deportation.
She shared 40 images of messages in a Facebook post with the following: "The HATE is real guys. The hate is real. I am legally working in the United States through DACA, and I'm pretty sure the IRS isn't going to come after someone who PAYS their taxes. I truly feel bad for these people, may they find peace and happiness in their own dark hearts."
"You’re disgusting and I hope that you and your family will be sent back to the lesser country that your ancestors built," one message read.
"If you are a foreign invader you will be investigated and picked up I will see to it myself. Who am I you may ask? I’m your biggest nightmare ... I am a governor hopeful and putting your deportation on my resume is going to look great on my accolades," another message said.
"Reported you to ICE and Homeland security. Crime doesn't pay lady," read a message.
But Sisa is not letting the backlash dampen her spirits, as she explained on Facebook:
It is incredibly hard and painful to stand up and tell the truth, especially when it is not the popular thing to do. I've learned that many times over, but the attacks I received yesterday were unprecedented. They could not handle the truth, so they took it out on me. But the reality is that LOVE will ALWAYS beat hate. Our will to change this world and fulfill our mission will never be stopped by the people who are so unhappy with themselves that they try to pull us down with them. They will not tear me down. My heart is too full, my passion to help and fight for others burns too bright. I know who I am, I know what I stand for and the values I hold.
Sisa is an outspoken advocate for people in a similar situation. In 2015, she wrote an opinion piece that called on Arizona lawmakers to grant in-state tuition to those protected under the DACA. In 2016, she was a page at the Democratic National Convention, even though she is not allowed to vote.
On Facebook, Sisa said that she will continue to speak up for immigrants rights and immigrant families.
"NEVER STOP SPEAKING UP," she wrote. "It drives these haters crazy. I am here for you always."
A picture of a sign that demonstrates inclusiveness was included with her post.
"Near or far, I am in solidarity with you, the fighters, the dreamers, the changemakers, and status quo shakers," Sisa wrote.