Bernie Sanders Breaking the Law by Employing Illegal Immigrant, FEC Complaint Says

By Zachary Stieber

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is breaking federal election law by employing an illegal immigrant, according to a new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Maria Belén Sisa, 25, is in the country illegally after her parents entered without permission while she was a child.

Sisa announced in late February that Sanders had hired her as a spokeswoman.

Sisa also worked for the Bernie 2016 campaign and made contributions to it.

Along with Sisa, Sanders’s campaign for president has in the past hired two other illegal immigrants, according to the complaint sent to the commission.

They were identified as Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, salaried employees for Sanders’s 2016 effort. Both were involved in Latino outreach and have been open about being illegal immigrants.

Both working for and donating to the campaign are “direct and serious violations” of federal election law, according to the complaint.

“Due to the high profile of Cesar Vargas, Erika Andiola, and Maria Belén Sisa as leading activists in the undocumented community, there is reason to believe that respondents are ‘foreign nationals’ within the meaning of 52 U.S.C. § 301219b)(2), and in violation of 11 C.F.R. § 110.20 (i) and A.O. 2004-26, directly or indirectly participated in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2016,” the complaint states.

“There is reason to believe, having previously employed Ms. Sisa, that Bernie 2020 is currently, and knowingly, permitting a ‘foreign national’ … to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2020.”

CRF Complaint to FEC on Ber… by on Scribd

According to the Federal Election Commission website, the Federal Election Campaign Act and Commission regulations “specifically prohibit foreign nationals from participating in the decisions of any person involving election-related activity.”

“For example, a foreign national volunteer may attend committee events and campaign strategy meetings, but may not be involved in the management of the committee,” it added.

Foreign nationals are also prohibited from contributing to political campaigns, the commission also stated.

Shaun McCutcheon, who filed the complaint for the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, told the Free Beacon any illegal immigrants employed by the campaign should lose their jobs if the commission finds the Sanders campaign in violation of the law.

“The involvement of foreigners, especially with all that went on during the 2016 election, can’t be allowed in our elections,” McCutcheon said.

Sanders nor Sisa have commented on the complaint.

Sisa’s History

Sisa told the Arizona Republic in July 2016 that her parents illegally immigrated to the United States from Argentina when she was 6 years old, a fact that she hid from her friends.

She said she got her driver’s license at age 22.

At the time of the interview, she was serving as a page to the Arizona delegation to the Democratic National Convention. She said she worked for the Sanders campaign in a role in Arizona but that she would be urging her family to vote for Hillary Clinton.

“Even though I can’t vote, I can get 200 people to vote, and that matters,” Sisa said. “Everything can change depending on who becomes the next president. Our voice is starting to matter, and we can have an impact even though we can’t cast a ballot ourselves.”

Sisa said she was counting on Clinton instituting laws that would make people like her father legal. “What I’m hoping to hear more of all,” she said. “is that things are going to be solved once and for all within the next few years.”

Sisa has been arrested at least twice, once after taking part in a sit-in outside Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)’s office in Washington in late 2017 as an attempt to get lawmakers to push for permanent legal status for her and those like her.

She and seven other illegal immigrants claimed that they would refuse to leave the jail or identify themselves to authorities until Schumer and Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said they would block any spending bill that didn’t include the legal status.

Sisa was described at the time by The State Press as a political science senior at Arizona State University.

According to Sisa’s Facebook page, she manages the group “Undocumented Students for Education Equity at ASU.” She studied political science and history at the university, conducted Latino outreach for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, and was a media manager for NextGen America.

Just five weeks prior to her first arrest, Sisa was arrested for protesting in the Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building in Washington. The State Press said that Sisa and 10 other illegal immigrants conducted the protest on behalf of an advocacy group United We Dream.

Sisa and other protesters chanted “Clean DREAM Act” until they were arrested. The “clean” part refers to activists desiring the passage of legal status for the Dreamers without any compromise with Republicans, such as funding for the border wall.

“I participated in this action because my heart led me to commit myself to put everything on the line for something much bigger than myself,” Sisa wrote in a Facebook post. “Two months ago the Trump administration took away DACA (Deferred Action for Child Arrivals), something we knew would happen, but it opened many old wounds. I could not help but think back to every struggle my family endured for us and for me to be who I am.”

After Sisa’s second arrest, her mother Isabel O’Neal said she was proud of her daughter but also concerned.

“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.”