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Petitioning Department of Homeland Security, President of the United States

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
540,581 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
423,306 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States, Wisconsin State Senate, Wisconsin State House, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Mike Honda, Wisconsin Governor, Sean Duffy

Military Rape: change the sex offender requirements and law!!

I joined the military because I wanted to serve my country.  I served as a Lance Corporal in the Marines for over three years.  In that time I was raped and sexually assaulted.  When I decided to report the sexual assault I was led through a maze of questions and excuses and I was even discouraged from reporting the crimes. In the end, instead of getting justice I was ostracized and humiliated. I learned that that offenders are not required to disclose their crimes on their discharge papers, and is not on a background check if they get a Non-Judicial Punishment. Most veterans are honorable men and women who have served our country, but there are some who have committed serious crimes like rape and sexual assault during their service and the military has a responsibility to disclose that information for the sake of the public good. If they are not charged per a Court Martial, the Command does not have to make them register, they do not report to ANYONE that the active duty member has to register, and the crime will NOT always be on their criminal back ground. Most Commands do not turn in the paperwork to the proper Civilians to make sure it's on the background check. When asked why Members who got a Non-Judicial Punishment do not have to disclose on their discharge papers, some of the responses I was given were 1) It will take too long to create a national database or 2) the military is going green and it takes too much paper to add an extra check box to discharge papers, THE COMMAND FORGETS SOMETIMES?? This is part of a larger issue of rape within the military.  Some estimates reveal that more than 1/3 of women in the armed services are raped during their service and of the reported rapes, 55% are males.  If you serve in the US military and you rape or sexually assault a fellow service member you have an 86.5% chance of keeping the crime a secret and a 92% chance of avoiding court martial.   Let's get this changed, and make it a requirement that Sex Crimes in the Military should be taken serious, and even if punishment is suspended, or does not go to Court Martial, it should still be on their background for employers and citizens to see while performing a back ground check. And to also include Active Duty Military in our current Database if they were charged per Court Martial (punishment suspended or dropped) Non Judicial Punishment or any form of punishment. If charged one way or another with a sex crime, he/she should also not be allowed to live in Base Housing. Please call (703) 571-3343 and continute to ask WHY they are ignoring our request. Join me in asking the Department of Defense to report criminal history (Military crimes INCLUDING NJP) on their DD214 and request that suspending punishment when being charged with a sex crime not be allowed, Include in Policies and orders that reports MUST be turned into local courthouses to ensure the member registers as a sex offender !!  CONTACT   military.rape12@gmail.com to send stories, ask for help, need to talk, or media inquiries.

Nicole Meserole
373,255 supporters
Victory
Petitioning Defense Secretary James Mattis

Send Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico to Aid Our Fellow Americans

Over 3 million of our fellow American citizens of Puerto Rico are in dire straits. The island is without power, water and supplies are in short supply, finding safe shelter is getting harder to come by, and hospitals are already filled to capacity. The U.S. Navy has a hospital ship that it has sent on humanitarian missions across the globe and that hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, is needed now to help our fellow American citizens living in Puerto Rico.  As a hospital ship, the Comfort is uniquely capable of provided much needed medical relief to those needing it in Puerto Rico. It is staffed with hundreds of medical and support personnel who can provide everything from routine medical care for non-life threatening conditions to operating rooms and intensive care facilities to tackle the most serious situations. We call on the Defense Secretary, Navy Secretary, and President to send the USNS Comfort to Puerto Rico to aid our fellow citizens in their time of need.

Rick Trilsch
271,697 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
262,204 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States

Sign the Citizens' Petition To Fix The Debt

America’s gross debt of over $19 trillion is a catastrophic threat to our security and economy, and the time to Fix the Debt is now. We see clearly that the national debt is out of control, and its continued growth puts our national security, social safety net, job growth prospects, and everything we value most about our nation at risk. Washington has done nothing about this looming catastrophe, and our voices must be heard in a way our elected decision-makers in Washington can’t possibly ignore. The “Citizens' petition” will boldly demonstrate that Americans across the political spectrum want Congress and the President to take action on the debt now by enacting a plan that uses the framework of Simpson-Bowles and other bipartisan plans to reduce the federal debt.

Fix The Debt
254,569 supporters
Petitioning President of the United States, Democratic National Committee, Republican National Committee, Bernie Sanders, Marco Rubio, Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, Kirsten Gillibrand, Rand Paul, Bill Nelson,...

Allow Transgender People Into the U.S. Military

On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Donald Trump announced that transgender individuals would no longer be accepted or allowed into the U.S. Military because their cost is a "burden." This is extremely disgraceful and an insult to all those who have already given their lives for this country. This is not equality, and this is not "supporting the LGBT community," as he said he does. This is utterly transphobic. Many people who served are going to be left jobless, and many others will no longer be able to fulfill their dreams. This is not okay, and this should not be legal. Trans people are still people. 

Kaitlin Jozokos
236,056 supporters
Victory
Petitioning President of the United States

End Female Genital Mutilation in the US - Commission a prevalence report on women impacted and girls at risk

My name is Jaha Dukureh and I am 24 years old. As an infant growing up in Gambia, I experienced Female Genital Mutilation. It took away a part of my femininity, my ownership to my body. Some girls, including my half-sister who died from complications from being cut, even lose their lives. I am committed to ending this destructive practice and I need you to join me.
  The World Health Organization defines Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as “the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons." In some cultures, FGM is believed to preserve the virginity of girls and keep them “pure” until marriage. It is also believed to keep girls faithful to their spouses because of lack of arousal during intercourse.  Apart from the violent and painful nature of the process, victims continue to suffer the physical and mental agony for the rest of their lives including complications during menstruation, sexual intercourse and childbirth. That is why the United Nations has declared FGM a human rights violation -- and yet the practice continues here in the United States and around the world. When I was 15 years old, I moved to New York and was forced in to marriage. I was lucky to escape and create a new life in Atlanta, where I now live with my second husband and children. I ended my silence about my experience and started speaking out about FGM. I created a blog where other women in our communities here in the US have shared their stories. Many in the US hear about FGM and think it only happens in far away lands. Unfortunately, this is far from reality. I hear from girls everyday that were born here in the United States who have been through FGM. These young women are your average American teenagers -- some of them you know, some of them you went or go to school with. And there are many more girls in the US that are at risk of being cut.  The practice of FGM is illegal in the US but girls are being taken to other countries, usually their parents’ country of origin where they are cut in what is now known as “vacation cutting." Laws have been passed to try to address FGM in the US -- including one signed by President Obama in early 2013 making it illegal to take a girl out of the country for purposes of FGM -- but girls continue to be cut. Part of the difficulty in recognizing and addressing the problem in the US is the lack of awareness and up-to-date research/statistics on the prevalence of FGM. That's why I started this campaign. In order to improve efforts to protect these little girls, we must know the facts about FGM in the US. I'm asking President Obama and the Department of Health and Human Services, to take the essential first step of commissioning a report on the current statistics of women in the US impacted by FGM and the girls at risk of being mutilated. This is just the beginning of our work and we won't back down and we won't go away until girls are protected. Join me, Congressman Crowley, and Equality Now in calling for the Administration to develop a strategic action plan to end FGM.  Please sign my petition now.

Jaha Dukureh
221,169 supporters
Victory
Petitioning President of the United States

President Obama: Sign the Executive Order Adding LGBT Workplace Protections to Millions of American Jobs

Dear President Obama, We write to urge you to build on your record as the strongest president in U.S. history for promoting equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans by signing an executive order to ban federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT workplace discrimination. Nobody should ever be fired or harassed just because of who they are or whom they love. We agree with Freedom to Work and many other LGBT organizations that if corporations are going to take money from American taxpayers, then they should have to abide by American values like judging people based on their talent and hard work, not their sexual orientation or gender identity.  DynCorp, a military contractor which profits from billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars, was recently exposed for running a hostile work environment in which one employee was bullied at work and called “faggot,” “queer” and “dick-sucker” on a daily basis. After more than 50,000 citizens signed a petition on change.org, DynCorp finally agreed to add LGBT protections to its anti-harassment policies. However, many more companies will take this positive step once you approve the executive order that your staff has already drafted and recommended you sign. In fact, research by the Williams Institute shows that by issuing an executive order, you will cover more than 16 million additional workers against LGBT discrimination. Your executive order will be popular: A recent poll by the Center for American Progress found that almost 70% of likely 2012 voters support this very executive order. That support crosses political party lines, with 83% of Democrats, 69% of Independents, and even a majority of Republicans in favor of presidential action to stop LGBT discrimination. Your executive order will be good for businesses and U.S. taxpayers: Most of the top government contractors – companies like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin – already have LGBT non-discrimination rules, and they adopted them because they realize that discrimination is bad for the bottom line. Your executive order will only affect the hold-out companies that still engage in prejudice. As taxpayers, we should never have our money squandered by letting our government subsidize discrimination and harassment. Most importantly, your executive order is the right thing to do: LGBT Americans deserve full equality under the law, and we expect our elected officials to promote equality of opportunity whenever they can. According to news reports, your staff at the Justice Department and Labor Department have already written and approved the text of the executive order, and all that remains is for you to sign it. We respectfully urge you to do so.

Tico Almeida, Freedom to Work
190,557 supporters
Victory
Petitioning John Kerry

Release U.S.M.C. Sgt. Tahmooressi imprisoned in Mexico.

My son Andrew Tahmooressi is a Marine veteran fighting for his life and freedom in a Mexico jail after being wrongfully imprisoned for over a month after he accidentally crossed the border with three legal US purchased firearms in his truck. Andrew suffers from PTSD and had just traveled from Florida to San Diego to seek V.A. evaluation where he was diagnosed in March and started his treatment plan. He had all of his belongs in his car with him, including three firearms as he was searching housing and hoping to secure employment.   On March 31 he got lost while driving, made a wrong turn in the border town of San Ysidro, CA and within yards of that wrong turn, found himself approaching the Mexican Customs lane with no obvious way to turn around. Stopping, he states immediately,  “I got lost, made a wrong turn.  I do not want to be here. May I go back to the border (USA)? I have 3 weapons in my vehicle." Instead he was arrested and imprisoned on weapons charges even though the ATF traced the firearms back to him within days. Andrew's tours took place in (2010 & 2012) Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Marine, and he is currently a Reservist until 8/24/2016 in the Individual Ready Reserve. His experiences left him with PTSD and this situation is making things so much worse. Since in prison, his life has been threatened, he sustained a neck laceration and has been restrained by handcuffs to bed for 35 days. Our family is calling on Mexico's Attorney General to realize a mistake has been made and release Andrew immediately. So far more than 21 members of Congress have called for my son's release. Officials here in the U.S., including Secretary John Kerry and President Obama should join these calls so this veteran can be reunited with his family.

Jill Tahmooressi
183,817 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

2 years ago