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Petitioning Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, President of the United States

Increase The Disabled Veteran Benefits

 According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs website as of November 8th 2018. Disabled veterans are paid on a disability scale that starts from 10% to 100% service connected disability. When the veteran is paid for their disability, it is a certain amount and currently the minimum for a 10% Disabled Veteran with No Dependents is 137$ monthly. The maximum amount is for a 100% Disabled Veteran with spouse, two parents and child at $3,527.22 monthly. This amount is too little and needs to be addressed properly by our government officials. For anyone who lives in any major city in the good old USA knows that the National Average of an unfurnished apartment is $1,500+ and climbing. For example, in most popular cities such as Los Angeles and New York City the average rate of housing is well over $2,500+ for two bedroom unfurnished apartments. The VA benefits are not staying ahead of the housing cost by much and forcing veterans into Welfare/Food Stamps and supplemental state assistance income as a necessity in order to eat and survive normally. Rather than the government throw $640 Billion dollars and growing into the military, give a little more to those that have already served and deserve to be better taken care of. Give them the support they need. The funding to live a less stressful life after they have been hurt mentally and physically, lost their limbs or have become paralyzed. Currently, President Trump's requested budget for veterans for FY2019 is $198 Billion dollars, but this is going to be dispersed upon the service providers and facilities and maybe, just a measly 3.9% actual increase for Veterans Disabilities Benefits. This is not fair. Not right. Not enough. Take better care of our vets. Sign this petition and let it be heard. Increase the benefits across the board for all Disabled Veterans. Starting from the 10% Disabled up to the 100% Disabled. All Veterans have sacrificed and should be treated and taken care of fairly. 

Mo Moumné
564,539 supporters
Petitioning 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.  

Jessica P
551,408 supporters
Victory
Petitioning President of the United States

Clemency for Timothy Tyler, life for a nonviolent drug offense

My brother Timothy Tyler was just 25 years old when he was sentenced to die in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. He's watched murderers and rapists leave prison while he has no chance of ever leaving. He is now 45 years old and I want to bring him home. Timothy was a young Grateful Dead fan, who in May of 1992, sold pot and LSD to a friend who turned out to be a police informant. He had never been to prison before, but a judge was forced to give him double life without the possiblity of parole because of two prior drug convictions — even though both those convictions resulted in probation. Life without the possibility of parole means my brother will never have a chance to live outside of prison walls. It's effectively a death sentence. Tim made mistakes when he was young, but after 22 years in prison, he has more than paid his debt to society. He is not a threat to anyone. He wasn't given a chance to get clean and sober to think about the damage he was doing to his life. They locked him up and threw away the key. But there's hope.  In December, President Obama granted clemency to 8 nonviolent drug offenders who were serving mandatory sentences for crack cocaine. And the Department of Justice recently asked for Bar Associations throughout the country to send them more clemency petitions for nonviolent drug offenders. It costs $25,000 per year to keep my non-violent brother in prison for a mistake he made more than 20 years ago.  So far, that is over half a million dollars.  Not only is that not justice, but it's a waste of money. I need your help to show them that Americans think Timothy has paid his debt to society and shouldn't be housed in a cage at the expense of taxpayers anymore. He should be granted clemency.    

Carrie Tyler
421,195 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Children don't belong in cages

The Trump administration is trying to indefinitely imprison immigrant families and children in cages. If he is successful, we’re going to see babies celebrating birthday after birthday from behind a chain link fence – all because their families tried to escape unspeakable violence in their home countries. Join our campaign to end long-term, indefinite detention of immigrant children. Earlier this year, the Trump administration enacted a “zero tolerance” policy, prosecuting and detaining immigrant adults for the “crime” of crossing the U.S. border. Because of a 1997 settlement called Flores, children are not allowed to be detained in prison-like environments such as adult detention facilities for more than 20 days. But now Trump’s new Executive Order would allow for immigrant children to be held in detention indefinitely. The separation of families fleeing violence is cruel and inhumane – but keeping babies in cages indefinitely is much worse. Immigrant detention centers are unsafe for any human being. In the past few years several allegations have surfaced of abuse and sexual assault against detention center guards and we know that people in detention are denied access to basic healthcare services. Already adults are held in these facilities for months on end; it is unimaginable that children would find themselves growing up in these prison-like facilities. If we want to keep families together we should stop prosecuting their parents for making the same decision we would all make: fleeing to the U.S. border to keep our children safe from violence at home. Children don’t belong in cages. Sign our petition to keep them out of long-term detention.

Kids In Need of Defense
617,722 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Deborah Leff, President of the United States

Free Weldon Angelos - 55 years for marijuana

My brother Weldon Angelos, who was on his way to becoming a successful musician--writing and producing songs with artists such as Snoop Dogg and other acclaimed musicians--has been in federal prison for over 12 years. He faces 43 more years. All because he sold small amounts of marijuana and possessed--only possessed, didn't use--a gun at the same time! Even the judge who sentenced Weldon disagreed with the mandatory sentence of 55 years. The father of two young boys and a daughter, Weldon had never before been in trouble with the law. He was convicted when he was 24 years old of selling small amounts of marijuana to a confidential informant three times. The informant, who was a childhood acquaintance of Weldon, testified that a gun was present (never brandished or used) during two of the pot deals, which were friendly encounters in a store parking lot. When the police officers presented a warrant for Weldon's arrest, he consented to a search of his home, where officers found some marijuana and three guns, one in a locked brief case and the other two in a locked safe. The conservative federal judge Paul Cassell, appointed by President George W. Bush, sentenced Weldon to one day in prison on the marijuana charges. But, to the judge's dismay, he had to sentence Weldon to 55 years in prison because Weldon possessed a gun during a drug offense, which was mandatory under federal law, even though Weldon had never before been convicted of a crime. Judge Cassell called the sentence "cruel, unjust, and even irrational," and "one of those rare cases where the system has malfunctioned." Members of Congress have also publicly decried the injustice of Weldon's sentence, including Senators Rand Paul (R- Ky.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Ut.), and Orrin Hatch (R-Ut.), and over 100 former federal prosecutors and judges joined together to challenge Weldon's outrageous sentence. Judge Cassell highlighted that Weldon's sentence is far longer than the sentences received for "child rape (11 years)," "second-degree murder (14 years)," and even "aircraft hijacking (24 years)." Had Weldon been prosecuted in state court, the judge noted, Weldon would have served about 2 years in prison. In 2004, Judge Cassell called upon the President to commute Weldon's unjust sentence. Since then, Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch of Utah, and dozens of prominent celebrities, activists, book authors, legal scholars, business leaders (including Koch Industries), and former elected and appointed government officials have joined Judge Cassell in calling on President Obama to release Weldon from prison. But that hasn't happened yet. After 12 years, Weldon is still in prison. It breaks my heart. My father feared he would die without ever seeing Weldon free from prison. And on January 4, 2015, that's exactly what happen. Our father died without seeing his son free from behind bars. The Constitution provides the President with the power of commutation to reach a humane, merciful, just result. Please help us reach that result by signing and sharing this petition.

Lisa Angelos
261,743 supporters
Petitioning United States Department of the Interior

Stop the Government's Brutal Treatment of America's Wild Horses

In Wyoming’s Red Desert, a tiny wild horse foal flees a menacing helicopter chasing him. The little colt tries as hard as he can to catch up to his mother, just yards ahead of him. But finally he stops, unable to go farther. His mother turns around to look for her foal, then bravely defies the helicopter to run back to him. When the wranglers come after her on horseback with ropes, she charges them, trying desperately to save her baby. Finally, they rope her and drag her in to the trap, then bring in her exhausted foal. The foal photographed later in a holding pen lying lifelessly on the ground. By the next morning, he’s dead. This tiny colt is the third foal run to death in the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) roundup underway right now in Wyoming. So far, over 1,000 wild horses have been captured and permanently removed from our public lands. They will never know freedom or see their families again. Most Americans have no clue what’s happening at the hands of our government and paid for by our tax dollars. Worst of all, it’s totally unnecessary. The Red Desert wild horses being rounded up today aren’t starving or overpopulating… they are in extremely healthy condition, some are even fat! The sad truth is that these iconic American mustangs are being run off our public lands to make room commercial livestock grazing that is subsidized by our tax dollars, even though it provides less than 2 percent of America’s beef supply. There’s a way to manage our wild horses and burros of the American West and this is not it. Please speak up today.  

American Wild Horse Campaign
247,612 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life for a Website

My son, Ross Ulbricht, is a first-time offender serving a double life sentence without parole, plus 40 years, for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross―an Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneur―had all non-violent charges at trial. He was never prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury and no victim was named at trial. This is a sentence that shocks the conscience. There is a growing consensus that Ross’s case is a miscarriage of justice and over 100 eminent organizations and individuals have voiced their support. The website Silk Road was an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where consenting users chose what to buy and sell as long as no third party was harmed (some listings were prohibited). Both legal and illegal items were sold, most commonly small amounts of cannabis. Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for selling drugs himself but for creating a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people. All the other defendants related to the case―including the actual drug sellers and the creator of Silk Road 2―received sentences ranging from 17 months to 10 years.  Ross’s investigation, trial and sentencing were rife with abuse.  This includes corrupt federal investigators (now in prison) who were hidden from the jury, as well as prosecutorial misconduct, constitutional violations and reliance on uncharged, false allegations at sentencing. Ross was smeared in the media through false and inaccurate reporting. Ross was not treated fairly and his sentence is draconian. Justice was not served. We, the undersigned, seek mercy for Ross Ulbricht. He told the court that starting Silk Road was a terrible mistake that he deeply regrets, that he never intended harm, and that he has learned the heavy price of breaking the law. Ross is not a danger to anyone. If released tomorrow, he would never come near breaking the law again.  Ross’s life history clearly shows he is a compassionate young man who is very much loved and has much to give. The judge received 100 letters attesting to his excellent character and how much he has helped others. These include those in prison, where he has demonstrated exemplary behavior and tutored, led classes, and helped fellow inmates.  Keeping Ross caged for life helps no one; will cost taxpayers about $2 million; and deprives society of an exceptionally kind, generous and creative person. Even in the face of his walking death sentence, Ross clings to the hope of a second chance. He dreams of a future where he can be reunited with his loved ones, and use his education, knowledge and skills to contribute to society. Mr. President, please commute Ross Ulbricht’s unjust sentence. Learn more about Ross's case at FreeRoss.org.

FreeRoss.org
233,841 supporters
Free Steven Avery

This response was posted by the We The People Team at the White House: Thank you for signing a Change.org petition on the Teresa Halbach murder case, currently featured on the "Making a Murderer" documentary series. We appreciate your interest in this case. To best respond to your petition, we should go over what exactly presidential pardoning power entails. The U.S. Constitution grants the power of clemency to the President: "The President ... shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States." This clemency authority empowers the President to exercise leniency towards persons who have committed federal crimes. Under the Constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President. In addition, the President's pardon power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and military court-martial proceedings. However, the President cannot pardon a state criminal offense. Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them. A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities. While this case is out of the Administration's purview, President Obama is committed to restoring the sense of fairness at the heart of our justice system. That's why he has granted 184 commutations total -- more than the last five presidents combined -- and has issued 66 pardons over his time in office (https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/12/18/president-obama-has-shortened-sentences-more-people-last-5-presidents-combined). This Administration has taken a number of important actions to reduce the federal prison population (https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/population_statistics.jsp) in keeping with the President’s continuing efforts to enhance the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/14/fact-sheet-enhancing-fairness-and-effectiveness-criminal-justice-system) at all phases and to better address the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. These include: -Signing the Fair Sentencing Act, a bill that reduced the 100-1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, and eliminated the mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine (https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/08/03/president-obama-signs-fair-sentencing-act). -The Justice Department's "Smart on Crime" initiative, in which federal prosecutors are concentrating efforts and resources on the worst offenders and avoiding triggering excessive mandatory minimums for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders (http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ag/legacy/2013/08/12/smart-on-crime.pdf). -Commuting the sentences of dozens of people sentenced under outdated and unfair drug laws (https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/07/13/president-obama-announces-46-commutations-video-address-america-nation-second-chance). In 2014, President Obama also issued an Executive Order creating a Task Force on 21st Century Policing (https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/12/18/president-obama-creates-task-force-21st-century-policing) that produced a concrete blueprint for cities and towns seeking to put in place new strategies to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve while enhancing public safety. (The Task Force’s Final Report is available here: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/policingtaskforce.) And he has met with Americans across the country who are working to improve the criminal justice system, from law enforcement officials working to lower crime and incarceration rates, to former prisoners who are earning their second chance. Last summer, he became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison (https://medium.com/@WhiteHouse/behind-the-lens-photographing-the-president-at-a-federal-prison-ba5a5e7f2e8b#.dolmltkxc). And he continues to work with Congress to pass meaningful criminal justice reform that makes the system more cost-effective, fairer, and smarter, while enhancing the ability of law enforcement to keep our communities safe (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/17/weekly-address-working-meaningful-criminal-justice-reform). To view our response to the Teresa Halabach murder case on We The People, click here: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/response-your-petition-teresa-halbach-murder-case Thanks again for raising your voices. We hope you'll continue to participate on the platform. -- The We the People Team

4 years ago