College Junior Debunked A Prevalent Myth About Undocumented Immigrants With Her Tax Form

"I was hoping to kind of make a statement and educate people."

Many Americans believe, incorrectly, that undocumented immigrants do not pay any taxes but instead uniformly benefit from welfare programs — without adding of their own into the pot. But as complicated of an issue as immigration is, 23-year-old Arizona State junior Belén Sisa managed to disprove that particular myth with a single Facebook post: a photo of herself holding up her 1040 tax form. The post quickly went viral.

Sisa, an undocumented immigrant, has been in the United States since the age of 6 when her family overstayed their visa. She is a so-called "dreamer," protected under former president Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows undocumented immigrants brought here as children to avoid deportation. 

"I, an undocumented immigrant, just filed my taxes and PAID $300 to the state of Arizona," Sisa wrote. "I cannot receive financial aid from the state or federal government for school, I cannot benefits from unemployment, a reduced healthcare plan, or a retirement fund. I think I'm a pretty good citizen."

In a report from February, 2016, The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy said that America's 11 million undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64 billion in taxes annually. 

"I was hoping to kind of make a statement and educate people," Sisa told the Arizona Republic. "I decided to post it basically to bust the myth that immigrants don't contribute and they don't pay taxes to this country."

Her post comes at an important time for undocumented immigrants and dreamers, who are under renewed threat from stricter immigration policies. Though the new administration has yet to decide how to handle DACA recipients, it has called on law enforcement to enforce immigrations laws as strictly as possible. 

Though some may disagree with Sisa's status in America, her post is a reminder that millions of undocumented immigrants contribute to the communities they love via federal and state taxes, despite many Americans believing otherwise.

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