I just watched two videos about Belen Sisa, an undocumented immigrant from Argentina and a Dreamer. Her family came legally to the USA when she was 6 years old and overstayed their visas. The first video, from TYT, talks about a Facebook post of hers which has gone viral. It shows her with documentation proving that she paid the state of Arizona $300 in taxes. The 2nd is from CBS News and features an interview with her about her story and the FB post.
If the numbers from TYT are correct, then undocumented immigrants in the USA actually pay billions of dollars in taxes every year, on the local, state and federal level – its something in the area of $24B as of 2010. According to Sisa, she is currently unable to apply for citizenship in the country. No pathway exists for people in her circumstance, which is a comment I’ve heard repeated many times from people who want to become citizens here but have no avenue in which to do so.
There are apparently many people who want to see her deported, even though she’s protected by the Dream Act. I’m not one of them. I think what she did was very brave. She’s come forth publicly to put a face to the nebulous undocumented alien image so rampant in political media. She pays taxes and is paying her own way through college – as an undocumented alien, she’s not eligible for financial aid, even though she’s paying taxes.
My personal feelings are that if people from other countries have been here for a significant period, are contributing to society here in the USA and are paying taxes, a pathway to citizenship should be made available to them. I would much rather support them than see our tax dollars go where they’re currently going – subsidizing vast corporations, giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires who are sequestering money outside of the US to take advantage of tax loopholes and not pay what they’re legally obligated to, bailing out banks so that they can use that money to give hundred-million dollar bonuses to executives who were responsible for the recent recession, and paying the salaries and covering the healthcare costs of politicians in the House and Senate who are obstructionist, aren’t doing their jobs and are actively working to lessen rights for everyday Americans and to serve corporations instead of people..
So, kudos to you, Belen. You’re very brave, and you’re in the right on your stance. I hope others like you come forth too, to shatter the stereotype that’s being pushed by the media and by politicians with ill-intent.