Department of Homeland Security
Department of Homeland Security
Waive the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to Help Rebuild its Infrastructure and Economy
Everyone has seen the unprecedented devastation in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The entire island is without power and thousands of Americans may die. Many have asked how they can help. This petition focuses on cutting through bureaucracy that could cost lives and add to the suffering of millions of Americans in Puerto Rico. The Jones Act (Merchant Marine Act 1920, 46 U.S.C. § 883) prevents foreign ships from carrying cargo between the US mainland and noncontiguous parts of the US like Puerto Rico. Foreign ships can't stop in Puerto Rico to offload goods. Instead, goods are dropped off on the mainland and brought to the island on US flag ships. This makes everything more expensive, and in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, could actually cost lives. The Department of Homeland Security extended a waiver of the Jones Act to relieve PR, but the waiver expired on September 22, 2017. I started this petition on Saturday, September 23rd. By September 28th, this petition garnered nearly 500,000 supporters, and President Trump and DHS agreed to waive the Jones Act for 10 days. While this is a good start, Puerto Rico will need additional time to rebuild its economy and infrastructure and should receive the benefit of foreign support. For example, Germany has already begun assisting Puerto Rico with restoring its power grid. By signing this petition, you are telling the Department of Homeland Security and the President of the United States to waive the Jones Act for 12 months to give Puerto Rico the relief it needs to recover and rebuild its infrastructure and economy.
#FreeEmilio: Do Not Deport Award-Winning Journalist Emilio Gutierrez to Mexico
As supporters of press freedom and human rights, we are asking that Mexican journalist Emilio Gutierrez, who is currently being held in the Federal Detention Center in Sierra Blanca, Texas, not be deported to Mexico. Mr. Gutierrez, who is the recipient of the National Press Club’s 2017 John Aubuchon Award for Press Freedom, has been living in the United States for nine years since fleeing Mexico. His reports on abuses by the Mexican military in his hometown forced him to flee for his life. He sought asylum in the U.S., but his request was recently denied. Mr. Gutierrez and much of the journalism community believe that he will be killed upon return to Mexico if he is deported. We urge the U.S. government to find a place for him here in the States or allow him to transit to a third country where he will be safe. Mr. Gutierrez has no criminal record. He and his son Oscar have supported themselves in the food service industry while living in Las Cruces, New Mexico. They willingly surrendered in El Paso on December 7 and were handcuffed and taken to the facility at Sierra Blanca 90 miles away from their attorney in El Paso. Mr. Gutierrez and Oscar were moved back to the detention facility in El Paso on December 12. Please sign this petition to prevent Emilio's deportation before it's too late. #freeemilio
Be His Hero: Save My Family's Lives
As an Afghan interpreter for the U.S. military, it was my honor to serve the United States. But in retaliation for my work alongside the U.S. Marines, the Taliban captured, tortured, and murdered my father. I moved my family to safety and continued to serve. Three years later, the Taliban struck my family again by kidnapping my my then three-year old brother and holding him for ransom. We paid the ransom and fled the country. I was able to come to the U.S. this January, but my family remains in danger. I need your help to save them. I have never seen my father happier than when I told him I was volunteering to be an interpreter for the U.S. Marines. He told me he was proud that his son had chosen to serve with the Americans to free Afghanistan from the Taliban's rule. In the summer of 2009, while I was working at the main entry gate of Marine Corps Base Camp Dwyer, a Taliban sympathizer from my hometown of Kandahar recognized me. A few days later, Dad disappeared. A broadcast soon came over the radio: an unidentified body had been found in a dried riverbed and needed to be claimed at the morgue. My mother made a trip that no wife should ever have to make to see if the body was that of her husband. By this time, Dad had been missing for a week. In the morgue, Mom found a body with missing fingertips and riddled with bullet holes, including one in the head. She knew we had lost Dad when she noticed the body’s shoes– my father was still wearing the sandals I had given him as a keepsake when I left to work as an interpreter. We wore the same size shoes. In the face of such tragedy, and despite continued mortal risk to myself and my family, I decided to continue to serve alongside Coalition Forces for three more years in an effort to improve my country. Sadly, after four years serving with the Coalition Forces and the U.S. Military, the Taliban once again struck my family, kidnapping my then 3-year old brother. My big brother, Adrian Kinsella, has spent the last three-and-a-half years fighting to get me safely to the United States. With the help of nonprofits such as IRAP, the Pat Tillman Foundation, and fellow Americans citizens, my big brother reached out to politicians and media across the country and elicited the aid of 11 U.S. Senators and Congressmen to expedite the process. In January, I arrived. I am now living with Adrian in Berkeley and have already landed a job at a video equipment manufacturer. I don’t fear for my safety tonight, but I know that my family continues to suffer. They live their current lives as if in a prison; they cannot work, go to school, or even leave their house. Please help me free them from this prison and bring them to safety. *Usafi is my tribe name. In order to protect my family, I'm not using my last name.
They Stood with Us: Save Iraqi Family Under Immediate Threat for Working with U.S. Troops
Mohammed, a 62-year-old Iraqi, and his family are in grave danger because of their affiliation with the U.S. military and desperately need to be granted refugee status in the United States before it’s too late. Multiple generations of Mohammed’s family have risked their lives for U.S. forces and to bring freedom and safety to Iraq. Two of his sons served as interpreters for the U.S. Army, and his brother interpreted for the Marine Corps. All three of them had their lives threatened, and one son was shot in the face by militia. Mohammed’s brother was shot, killed, and left dead in a dumpster when the militia found out about his work. Please sign my petition asking the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expedite processing of the family’s refugee case that was recently approved on a conditional basis. Three of Mohammed’s children (the two interpreter brothers and one of their sisters) have already been resettled in recognition of their sacrifices for the United States. But Mohammed, his wife, and his three other children (including a 10-year-old daughter) remain in Iraq, where they are in hiding due to their history of support for the U.S. and the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. While they wait for their case to be finalized, they remain a prime target for terrorist organizations. After over six years of vetting, they continue to fear for their lives and the risk of being them being killed because of their affiliation with the U.S. is increased the longer their case is delayed. Mohammed and his family firmly believe in the importance of U.S. national security – the family collectively made the decision to defend it at great personal risk. Yet, last year, the family received a devastating denial of their refugee case with no explanation. American citizens rallied behind the family and over 22,000 signatures were gathered on Change.org asking USCIS to review the decision in light of the sacrifices the family has made for the U.S. USCIS considered the entirety of the evidence and made a wrong right by overturning their previous denial. We are incredibly grateful for the USCIS officials who took a hard look at the case and put this family back on track for refugee resettlement to the US. However, it is important to remember that the ordeal is not over until the day the family safely escapes Iraq, lands stateside, and clears customs. Mohammed and his family have been through enough. They have had family members killed and wounded and they have had their family torn apart. All of this is because of their loyalty to the U.S. It is time to bring the rest of the family to new home in the U.S. They deserve to be reunited and should no longer fear daily for their lives. Sign my petition to ask USCIS to finalize their case. We made a promise to protect this family. We cannot let this family die at the hands of our common enemy.
Deploy 50,000 Federal Troops to Aid in Puerto Rico's Recovery Efforts
Hurricane Maria ripped roads apart, uprooted trees, pulled walls and metal roofs off homes, and devastated the ailing island of Puerto Rico. We've all seen the images of the aftermath, but the real story is now about survival. Ten days after the storm hit, millions need to survive deteriorating conditions. In storm-battered neighborhoods across Puerto Rico, aid hasn't come quickly enough and hasn't been sustained. Puerto Ricans are dying. Americans are dying. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, credited with turning around the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, weighed in on the crisis, “Puerto Rico is a bigger and tougher mission than Katrina, and we had 20,000 federal troops, 20 ships, and 40,000 National Guard.” The island’s most pressing needs include fuel to run hospitals or potable water to drink. Honoré says, “You need at least 50 to 80 helicopters in there.” In contrast, only 4,400 federal troops have been deployed to Puerto Rico as of September 29th. The 3-star general appointed to the crisis, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, says there are not enough troops and vehicles sent to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. President Trump, deploy 50,000 federal troops to the island and 80 helicopters to distribute fuel, water, and emergency supplies. Give our troops the resources they need to be successful in Puerto Rico. Help them save millions of American lives. To be clear. The Trump administration has not stepped up yet, which is reminiscent of the days following Katrina — 10,000 federal workers is not enough. Puerto Rico was destroyed, and the effects are on a larger scale than Katrina. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on September 29th urged Trump to ramp up the federal assistance. "This is, damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a ‘people are dying’ story. This is a ‘life or death’ story. This is ‘there’s a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people’ story. This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen.” No more excuses about it being 1,200 miles away from the mainland. What matters most is how you respond in the days to come. The ball is in your court, Mr. President. We're asking for you to do more. Not just today, but tomorrow, and the next day until we fix this together. Puerto Ricans are not them or they — we're Americans who need help.
Release Uziel Mendez Martinez from Immigration Detention
Uziel Mendez Martinez is the father of three U.S. Citizen children, including an infant. He is a hard-working man that is full of faith and love for his family! As the sole breadwinner in his family, Uziel is desperately needed at his home. He entered the United States in 2001 through the border and while he recognizes that his manner of entry was not the correct way, he is in many ways emblematic of our broken immigration system. For the past 16 years, he has lived in this country, worked in construction and tried to live life in a healthy, productive manner. Just before Thanksgiving, he was coming home from working on roof repairs stemming from Hurricane Irma in the Naples, FL area. The car in which he was a passenger was followed by Customs and Border Patrol and despite the driver having a valid license, all the passengers, including Uziel, were questioned about their immigration status and those that did not have a lawful status were detained in immigration centers. Uziel is no threat to the community, is a loving father and husband and seeks to be able to continue his removal proceedings from his home so that he may care for his wife and children. As such, we respectfully ask DHS/ICE to please redetermine custody and release Uziel on his own recognizance or on bond for the remainder of his removal proceedings.
Keep Rosa Maria Hernandez in the United States!
On October 26th, Rosa Maria Hernandez (a 10-year-old disabled girl) was detained by the United States Border Patrol when passing through a U.S. border checkpoint on her way to emergency surgery. After the surgery, she was brought to a federal detention center in San Antonio, Texas. Ten days later on November 3rd, she was finally reunited with her family. However, Rosa Maria still faces the looming possibility of deportation, despite the fact that she has lived in the United States for nearly her whole life. Sign this petition to keep Rosa Maria in the United States, and prevent her deportation! Rosa Maria's parents brought her to the U.S. from Mexico at three months old because they were faced with a lack of proper health care for children with disabilities. She has lived with family members who are legal citizens of the United States, including a cousin, and grandfather who has attempted to become her legal guardian to no avail. With the possibility of deportation, Rosa Maria's health could be in jeopardy. Furthermore, the psychological impact of being separated from her caregivers is tremendous on any child, even those without a disability. It is essential we protect Rosa Maria from deportation for these reasons. Authorities have the ability to close Rosa Maria’s deportation case; You can use your voice to advocate for Rosa Maria and other disabled persons of migrant status who put themselves at risk by speaking up. Sign this petition to keep Rosa Maria in the United States with her extended family (who are citizens) and share it with people you know! The key to helping is never being silent.
Arrest Madonna for Making Threats Against the White House
The inflammatory statement made by Madonna on January 21, 2017 at the Women's March in DC is a blatant disregard for the welfare of the President, his family and staff. Her arrogance and sense of entitlement as a Hollywood elitist allow her to maintain the confidence that she could make any type of hostile statement and promotion of violence, and face no consequences. We, the signers of this petition, request that Madonna be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, just as if any other average citizen had made these same statements.
Stop mistreating asylum-seekers. Shut down the Hutto Detention Center.
For eleven months, my mother lived in a dirty cell in an immigrant detention center in Texas. She’d never hurt a soul, and in fact risked her life and safety to protect her family, but she was held like a prisoner. Help me shut down the detention center that mistreated and retaliated against my mother and other asylum-seekers. Sign if you want the Don T Hutto Detention Center shut down for good. Many of the women being held in the center are seeking asylum from unthinkable violence in their home countries. My mother made the treacherous journey north to escape a violent gang and an abusive ex-husband who had tried to kill her multiple times. Another time, my mother missed an important immigration appointment to save my life, driving through the night to get us away from my husband, who had threatened to kill me. Almost all of the women detained in Hutto have similar horror stories, but instead of being offered shelter in the U.S. they are being held in a facility that is not equipped to humanely house anyone. It’s time to shut down Hutto. The Hutto Detention Center used to hold migrant children, but the conditions of the facility were so inhumane that intense public pressure forced it to close down. Children in the facility were forced to wear prison clothing, couldn’t have toys in their cells and were disciplined for acting like any other child – running, or talking too loudly. Now that the facility has reopened to detain women asylum-seekers, residents still have very limited medical care, no privacy and terrible food. There have been multiple allegations of sexual abuse and assault of women detainees at the hands of detention guards. After months living in Hutto, my mother and hundreds of women couldn’t take it anymore and launched a hunger strike to protest the poor conditions at the facility. For their actions they faced retaliation: many people were sent to solitary confinement or transferred to other detention centers. But she’s not giving up, and neither am I. Sign to stand with us and demand that the Department of Homeland Security shut down the Don T Hutto Detention Center.
Protect and Preserve Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
As a result of the recent election, the time to preserve vital progress in our nation has come. President-elect Donald Trump’s anticipated immigration plans pose a significant threat to undocumented immigrants nationwide. Undocumented high school graduates wishing to go on to college to further their education, wanting nothing more than to contribute to their communities and to the United States, face a harsh reality after graduating high school. DACA presented hope for a future for many undocumented students across the country. Young children and young adults with aspirations of becoming future doctors, teachers, lawyers, and countless other career paths were given an opportunity to pursue their dreams when Obama announced the DACA program. Donald Trump plans to terminate this, effectively ending all young undocumented students' hopes of obtaining driver’s licenses, work permits, and a college education and putting them at an increased risk for deportation. What is DACA?“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a kind of administrative relief from deportation. The purpose of DACA is to protect eligible immigrant youth who came to the United States when they were children from deportation. DACA gives young undocumented immigrants: 1) protection from deportation, and 2) a work permit. The program expires after two years, subject to renewal. PLEASE NOTE: DACA does not grant a path to permanent residency or citizenship. The DREAM Act, which would lead to permanent residency, has NOT passed.” http://undocu.berkeley.edu/legal-support-overview/what-is-daca/ “On June 15, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.” https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/consideration-deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca DACA Eligibility RequirementsYou may request DACA if you: 1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012; 2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday; 3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS; 5. Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012; 6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and 7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor,or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety. DACA is not amnesty, nor a direct path to citizenship. DACA allows eligible immigrants to obtain a driver’s license, obtain a work permit, and stay in the country to work toward a path to citizenship without great risk of deportation. Thanks to DACA, these immigrants can share their experiences and talent while developing their skills and education as they work to establish themselves as U.S. Citizens. Pew Research Center estimates there are 11.1 undocumented immigrants in the country while the Department of Homeland Security estimates there are 11.4 undocumented immigrants in the United States as January of 2012—the number only continues to increase. These immigrants are our friends, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and students. President Obama’s announcement of DACA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RXSlMu5EDI Obstacles Faced by Immigrants · “Most immigration lawyers charge between $5,000 to $7,500 to accompany a client through the green card process.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1 · “Some cases can cost closer to $15,000 before adding on application fees and any potential family members.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1 · “Applicants can spend years marked by a feeling of lost opportunity and helplessness as they wait for the process to conclude.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=87996&page=1 · Many colleges do not accept DACA students · Out of state tuition for many DACA college students if they can find a college that accepts them · FAFSA cannot be utilized by undocumented students and many scholarships cannot be awarded to undocumented students, putting them at a major disadvantage when it comes to the college application process. · Constant association and comparison to terrorists and criminals—including racial profiling. While terrorists and immigrants with malicious intent do get into the country, this is a very small proportion and must not be overgeneralized to the population as a whole. Immigrants, legal or undocumented, tragically face a growing hatred that has been inspired by negative framing of immigrants, use of misleading information, and the strategy of using them as scapegoats. · Immigration raids in their communities · Being forcibly taken or separated from their families. Children are often separated from their parents because of the deportation process. Without DACA:• According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are an estimated 1,932,000 DACA eligible immigrants in the U.S. If Donald Trump carries through with his plans to end DACA, these almost 2 million immigrants will be unable to obtain driver’s licenses and work permits, will not be able to work toward their educational dreams, and will be at great risk for deportation • We will be ending the work, progress, and achievements of young immigrants. All of their hard-work and progress will essentially be destroyed • According to the American Psychological Association, there are one million children under the age of 18 who are undocumented and 4.4 million under the age of 30. Those who currently are in the DACA program or are eligible for DACA, will be at major risk for deportation if DACA is ended. • We will be ending the educational paths of future doctors, businessmen and women, skilled trade workers, teachers, and more • We will be tearing apart and ruining families who only wish to work toward becoming U.S. citizens Please pledge your support to prevent the termination of this vital program and show Donald Trump we do not want to see these young, hardworking, patriotic immigrants separated from their families and forced out of our country. Let us show President-elect Donald Trump that these young students want nothing more to contribute to our country by protecting the program that allows them to work toward their ultimate goal of becoming U.S. citizens. Please remember that DACA is just one program that is in place to help immigrants assimilate into our nation. With Donald Trump’s election, this is only one facet of the immigration progress that is at risk. There is much more that needs to be done. This is just one step. Please share this with friends, family, and coworkers, and remember that we must all come together as Americans or watch our great nation continue to grow divided and crumble before our eyes. Resources and Further Information: https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states https://immigrationforum.org/ http://inthecountrywelove.com/ http://www.nationalimmigrationproject.org/ https://www.ilrc.org/ https://www.nilc.org/ http://saalt.org/policy-change/immigrant-rights/daca-stories/ http://unitedwedream.org/dreamer-narratives/daca-stories-arian/ https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/news/2015/07/09/117054/results-from-a-nationwide-survey-of-daca-recipients-illustrate-the-programs-impact/ http://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/deferred-action-childhood-arrivals-daca-profiles http://www.apa.org/topics/immigration/undocumented-video.aspx https://thinkprogress.org/heres-how-much-trump-s-mass-deportation-policy-would-cost-everyone-3e19f51ff8cf#.8ey83fmt6