US State Department
US State Department
Save the J-1 Au Pair Program
The Wall Street Journal reported on August 28th that the Trump Administration might eliminate several J-1 cultural exchange programs, including the au pair program, as it implements the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order. The au pair program is not a work program, it is a cultural exchange program that allows young students to travel to the United States each year to live as part of an American host family, attend classes and become a part of the local community. The diplomacy-oriented goals of the program are focused on creating meaningful cultural exchange opportunities and strong ties between citizens of this country and young people from around the world. The lasting international relationships that have been created over more than 30 years are a testament to the program’s continued success. The childcare component of the au pair program supports and empowers American families by allowing them to balance work while raising their families. The loss of this program would be devastating to the cultural exchange community and would result in American jobs being lost rather than created. Please join us in showing your support for this invaluable program. The au pair program supports thousands of working American families, connects people forming lasting diplomatic and familial bonds, and promotes American values around the world. It would be undemocratic to eliminate this program without hearing from the participants and constituents who actually benefit from this life-changing cultural exchange experience.
Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon and return to safe zones in Syria
Lebanon has a population of 4.5 million Lebanese people, 2 million Syrian refugees and half a million Palestinian refugees.It is a small country that, due to a 15 year war and the huge debt that accumulated after that for reconstruction, was already suffering economically before the March 2011 Syrian war and the spillover from the Syrian conflict including the influx of Syrian refugees that increased internal tension and slowed economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-15, and less than that in 2016, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Syrian refugees have pushed more and more Lebanese into unemployment. Yet we remain to this day the largest host (on a per capita basis) for displaced Syrians.Lebanese are known for their hospitality, however in this instance we regrettably announce that it is not within our capacity to have refugees in Lebanon, how can we invite a beloved guest to our house when we don't even have enough to feed our own children?!Besides the economical challenge, we are suffering demographic and social challenges that we worry might lead to serious altercations between both parties. Based on the facts of the country, with respect to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, Lebanon is neither a State Party nor has it signed its protocol. We ask you, the international community, our big family, please help us survive in our land, we need your assistance in relocating the displaced Syrians we have in Lebanon to safe zones in Syria designated and agreed upon by yourselves. We as the Lebanese people are willing to work hand in hand with the Lebanese government and international organizations in Lebanon, who have the data relating to the Syrian refugees, to relocate them in an organized, civilized manner. We hope for the best, God bless all the countries and we will continue to pray for world peace
Save Aysha and Her Family from Being Executed
Aysha's father Muhammad Kamran is a heroic interpreter who worked with the US military for 9 years in Afghanistan. His military supervisors praised his work ethic, dedication, and trustworthiness, and his incredible skill of fluently speaking six languages made him indispensable on Special Forces night raids on Taliban insurgents. He once saved an American soldier by dashing into an ambushed vehicle under Taliban fire. But the Taliban considers his faithful service to the US military a capital crime and is working hard to find and kill Muhammad and his wife and daughters. Tell USCIS to re-open and approve Muhammad and his family's humanitarian parole cases to save them from the Taliban before it is too late. When the US military mostly pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014, the Taliban gained strength in Afghanistan and killed many interpreters or their family members in revenge. One of Muhammad's brothers and a nephew, Sahil, who was also an interpreter, were shot and left for dead in an assassination attempt on Muhammad and his family. After the Taliban ambush, Muhammad fled his home district, just in time to escape a second Taliban attack that destroyed their family home. Consequently, Muhammad lost all contact with US military personnel who could have helped him apply for an SIV visa. He has been living in hiding for three years with his wife and four young daughters. They are living in daily fear of being discovered and killed by the Taliban and are unable to leave their house. There is no heating in the house, and leaks in the roof have made his young daughters sick on several occasions from getting infections from bacteria in the water or getting cold in the winter. When I learned about Muhammad and his family's plight a few months ago, I was determined to do everything possible to save their lives. Muhammad had tried to apply to the US as a refugee, but he was denied for “discretionary reasons,” a very common problem for former military interpreters and their families. When Muhammad's refugee case was denied, he was devastated and lost all hope for saving his life and his family's lives. He said the only option left for him was to surrender to the Taliban and hope that after they tortured and killed him, they would stop looking for his children. I told him not to give up and promised him to find a way to save their lives. Please help me keep my promise to Muhammad to save his life and his family's lives. They do not deserve to suffer and die because of Muhammad's service to the US military. My family hired a lawyer and filed a humanitarian parole case to sponsor Muhammad and his family to come live in the US while he works to get permanent, legal status in the US. Our humanitarian parole case for them may be our last chance to save their lives. In what our lawyer says is the most egregious case she has ever seen, USCIS denied Muhammad and his family's humanitarian paroles cases because his refugee case had been denied and without even bothering to read the refugee case. Thus, they again denied Muhammad for “discretionary reasons” without knowing what those discretionary reasons were. This is effectively a death sentence for the entire family. When our lawyer pleaded with them to at least let Muhammad's young daughters come live with their aunt and uncle in the US, USCIS made the absurd claim that the entire family, including his 2- and 4-year-old daughters, are a threat to national security. USCIS has thus denied even his young daughters their only hope to escape from the Taliban. Because of USCIS's policy and Muhammad's service to the US military, Muhammad's children were born with a death sentence. Worse yet, last month USCIS granted humanitarian parole to family members of Las Zetas drug cartel members who murdered US ICE agents in Mexico, so that the family members of the murderers could attend a trial in Washington, D.C. Thus, USCIS is literally treating Muhammad and his family worse than criminals. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/453519/operation-fast-and-furious-victor-avila-betrayed-obama-administration Sign the petition to tell USCIS to re-open and approve Muhammad's and his family's cases quickly. Muhammad is a hero who faithfully served the US military for over 9 years and is now in grave danger because the Taliban is determined to get revenge. He has already lost everything except his and his family's lives because of his service to America, but he is still proud of his choice to work for the US military. All he wants in return is the chance to bring his daughters to safety and to give them a future. If USCIS does not approve his case, he will be left behind to be killed by the same terrorists that he risked his life to fight for so many years. The Sacramento Bee recently wrote a story about my family's efforts to help Muhammad and his family. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article187680333.html For more background information, The Ithaca Voice wrote a story about Muhammad and his career with the US military: https://ithacavoice.com/2017/06/former-afghan-interpreter-hopes-find-sanctuary-u-s-help-cornell-student/ Please call your Congressional representatives and ask them to tell USCIS to approve this case. If you need contact information on your Congressional representatives, use this link to look them up: https://whoismyrepresentative.com/ Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on Muhammad's case. Please also email me if you know Muhammad personally or if you know any government officials or reporters who may be able to help raise public awareness of Muhammad's case. To learn more about No One Left Behind, the non-profit that advocates for and assists in resettling interpreters like Muhammad, visit http://nooneleft.org/
Allow Afghani Girls Robotics team to compete in USA by July 16th
I'm the father of three young men who participated in, and had their lives changed for the better by participating in the FIRST Robotics Competition through high school. We were so impressed by the goals and results of the program that my wife and I volunteer and it is our #1 charity. This is really a movement that seeks to make the world better by teaching young people to work and collaborate while competing, and to celebrate STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). Six Afghani teenage girls have been denied visas to the USA to pilot their robot in an international competition designed to show off the teams' design, construction, and programming skills while addressing the challenge of providing clean water for the world. The team is led by Roya Mahboob, Afghanistan's first female tech CEO. A more complete report from Forbes magazine can be found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/hilarybrueck/2017/06/29/denied-afghanistans-all-girl-robotics-team-cant-get-visas-to-the-u-s/#3c884396367f Tens of thousands of high-school and younger students participate in challenges building robots and competing with other teams from around the world in what has been described as "the Varsity Sport for the Mind." A Global Challenge competition will be held 16-18 July 2017 in Washington, DC around the theme of clean water supply. Teams from around the world will be arriving, competing, and cooperating. The Afghani robot has been cleared to enter the USA, but not the young women. More info on the competition and the organization can be found at: www.first.global This petition calls on the US State Department to expedite review and granting of visas for the six young women and their coach, so they can have the experience of collaborating and competing with like-minded youths from around the world, and return with the spirit of STEM and FIRST to their native Afghanistan.
Would like to thank all members of the U.S Congress.#H.Res128 #S.Res168.Ethiopian American
To the Honorable Representatives and Senator: On behalf of the Ethiopian-American Civic Council across the United States, we would like to thank all the members of the Foreign Relations Committees of the United States Congress who voted for House Resolution 128, "Supporting respect for human rights and inclusive governance in Ethiopia,” and Senate Resolution 168, "A resolution supporting respect for human rights and encouraging inclusive governance in Ethiopia." We are very pleased that the two resolutions are now ready for consideration by the full House. We are also encouraged by the support that the two resolutions are already getting from both chambers. Ethiopian-Americans and Ethiopians across the globe have waited expectantly for a long time for the United States Congress to act in the face of the notorious crimes against humanity and corruption of the Ethiopian dictatorship. The vote in the House and the Senate will be a far-sighted, just and compassionate response to the hundreds of peaceful protest demonstrations and candlelight vigils held in front of the United States Congress and the White House over the last 25 years. With your support for these bills, Ethiopia will finally have a chance to become a stable and prosperous democracy. Your concern for the people of Ethiopia, and not merely for the tiny, unelected clique holding them hostage at gunpoint, will help build a stronger and more effective partner for the United States. The theft by Ethiopia’s senior leadership and its business cronies of an amount exceeding all US financial assistance, rendering American aid programs little more than a transfer of the US taxpayer’s money to private bank accounts and luxury properties, has been well-publicized in major Western media such as the Washington Post and Forbes. This flagrant and egregious abuse of the US taxpayer continues while the famines get larger every few years and the war against terror in the region continues to slip. The Ethiopian regime uses lobbying firms paid from the country's meager resources to continue this fraud against the American people with fabricated economic data, claims of sovereignty and even threats to cease cooperation in the fight against terrorism. We are confident that your honorable institution will see the hollowness of these arguments. When you do, it will also become clear that an Ethiopian government forced by its illegitimacy and unpopularity to rely on military generals based on loyalty instead of talent and to keep Somalia weak and divided can never be an effective partner to America in the fight against Al-Shabab. Besides providing the American taxpayer with due accountability, these two bills represent a historic opportunity to bring peace, stability and better governance to a Horn of Africa region beset by drought, poverty, disease, emigration and conflict. It’s an opportunity that must not be lost. We therefore petition you, in the name of our tortured people, to support HR 128 and SR 168. Respectfully,
Help Us Stop Horse Slaughter in America!!!
What Do You Think When You Hear The Word Horse Slaughter? Well for me, I think about animal cruelty, how horrible and unfair it is to be slaughtered. So please, Chip in and help me stop the Slaughter of Horses in the U.S The term “horse slaughter” refers exclusively to the killing and processing of horses for human consumption. They say that it is “euthanasia”, which is defined as a gentle, painless death provided in order to prevent suffering. Being slaughtered is the most horrible way of killing such a beautiful creature. What is going to happen if the horses become extinct, just think about it? What is the world going to be like? Did you know that over 150,000 million American horses have been trucked each year over the boarder to become human consumption. Horses bound for slaughter (who may include pregnant mares, foals and horses who are injured or blind) are commonly shipped for more than 24 hours at a time in crowded trucks without food, water or rest. That is so wrong. For all of those horse lovers out in the world, they are probably dying inside because they are reading stuff like horses being slaughtered for human consumption (HUMANS EATING HORSES). So if we don't stop this slaughter, then the horse species are going to become extinct in different parts of the world. Horses SHOULD NOT be made into food, they are very delicate creatures, they deserve to live. I don’t care if they are pregnant but the owner doesn’t want it, you shouldn’t pass it over to the doggers to slaughter them and make them into food for humans. So please can you help me stop the slaughter of horses, they need to live as much as we do. They deserve to live a happy life. So I am begging you to sign this petition and help make a difference to the world and Help save these amazing creatures!!!
Please Grant Political Asylum to Mr. Andres F. Arias and leaders of Colombian Opposition.
The Colombian Government is relentlessly persecuting its critics and opponents. It has also manufactured, against the Colombian people’s will, a total amnesty agreement with narco-terrorist group FARC. In addition to being the largest cocaine cartel in the world, FARC is responsible for thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity. And yet they will not be punished at all in virtue of the so-called peace deal. Because of their view and political stance against such an impunity deal, many of the most prominent leaders of the opposition party in Colombia have been unjustly prosecuted, preventively imprisoned without conviction, or convicted without a fair trial. This systematic political persecution through the judiciary has been instigated by the Santos Administration in order to decimate the opposition party led by former president Álvaro Uribe. Indeed, some opposition leaders have been forced into exiled and have sought asylum in the US. President Santos of Colombia has repeatedly exerted diplomatic pressure to get the US to extradite his critics back to Colombia. At the same time, he has promised FARC kingpins never to extradite them to the US, regardless of the numerous standing requests by Federal Courts all over the country. The United States cannot tolerate impunity for narco-terrorists while enabling the systematic persecution of democratic activists in Colombia. We kindly ask for your help so that the Department of Homeland Security grants political asylum to Mr. Andrés Felipe Arias and other prominent leaders of the Colombian opposition currently in US soil. Mr. Arias served his country honorably, has been a good friend of the U.S., and is now seeking the protection for his family. We will not rest until the U.S. Government acts in accordance with the values we stand for as a Nation—democracy, the rule of law, and justice.
Save the J-1 Au Pair Program
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (August 27, 2017) reported that the Trump Administration is considering major reductions or elimination in J-1 cultural exchange programs, including the Au Pair program. This activity is to fulfill a major campaign promise of Donald Trump, under his “Buy American, Hire American” program. The premise is that these young people are “guest workers,” who are displacing American workers. The au pair program is not a work program - it is a cultural exchange program. For decades, the privately funded J-1 cultural exchange Au Pair program has been responsible for fostering global understanding in the U.S. and worldwide. Cultural exchange is the cornerstone of our public diplomacy. Alumni of international exchange programs include 565 current or former heads of foreign governments, 82 Nobel Prize winners, 58 ambassadors to the United Nations, and 26 heads of international organizations. We learn from others and we share our culture. It makes us better and stronger as a nation. The loss or elimination of this program would have a devastating effect on America’s public diplomacy and cultural relevance. Please join us in showing your support!
Economic sanctions must be reinstated against Sudan for failing to end violence
Reinstate Sanctions on Sudan to End Violence Against Innocent Civilians The Sudan region is one of the deadliest places in the world. The United States began instituting the first in a series of comprehensive economic and trade sanctions against Sudan 20 years ago as a result of war crimes and genocide. In 2011, South Sudan became the world’s newest country after seceding from Sudan in a referendum effort to end the second Sudanese Civil War. Unfortunately, independence was not granted to the much-contested oil-rich lands in the Nuba Mountains and the onslaught of violence has not only continued but worsened in this region. The unrelenting conflict has forced families with the decision of abandoning their homes or being killed. Since 2011, tens of thousands of refugees have been displaced from their homes. The Obama Administration—during its last week in office—temporarily lifted economic and trade sanctions against Sudan in return for cessation of violence and compliance with specific conditions. The US State Department highlighted 5 key areas that the Sudan government must achieve progress in to justify the lifting of economic sanctions: Ceasing hostilities in Darfur, South Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile State Improving Humanitarian Access Ending negative interference in South Sudan Enhancing cooperation on counter-terrorism with the US and Allies Addressing the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army The people of the Nuba Mountains continue to suffer as the government of Sudan (Khartoum) refuses to comply with their agreement with the United States in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. Economic sanctions must be reinstated against Sudan for failing to end violence against these innocent people The Sudan Relief Fund (SRF) is a non-profit charity that has been helping the poor and the defenseless in the region since 1999. “The government of Sudan continues to flagrantly defy the stipulations agreed upon with the United States as conditions to lifting economic sanctions. The only hope for progress toward a better future for the region would be the reinstatement of sanctions.” Neil CorkeryPresident of the Board of Directors of Sudan Relief Fund SRF and its partners on the ground have evidence proving that the Sudan government in Khartorum is continually in violation of the stipulations laid out to lift the economic sanctions. Through continued airstrikes on villages and farms, blocking humanitarian aid, and in effectively ignoring prospects for peace in the region Sudan is failing the test time after time. On July 12th, the Trump Administration elected to delay the decision 90 days on whether or not to permanently lift the economic sanctions that were placed on Sudan. We don’t have much time. Adding your signature to this petition is vital to impressing upon the United States government the critical importance of comprehensive economic sanctions is a crucial component of a plan for peace. President Trump and the United States Department of State: Sudan has betrayed the trust of the United States and continues to provoke violence in the region and we believe all economic and trade sanctions should be reinstated.
Recognize ANTIFA as a domestic terrorist organization
For years a far-left organization known as Antifa (short for anti-fascist), a group active in both Europe and the United States, has caused violent riots during protest events. In the United States, Antifa has made it one of their missions to use physical violence to silence and intimidate political detractors whom they label as "fascists" in order to justify their use of violence. They threaten and assault reporters as well as anyone who dares to film them in a public place, which is a violation of these individuals 1st amendment rights. They also make it no secret that they would like to cause instability in the United States. Antifa is active on college campuses and is responsible for using violence and intimidation to silence conservative speakers, as we have seen them attempt recently at the University of Washington and accomplished recently at the University of California, Berkeley. This is a dangerous organization that acts with virtual impunity, as its members rarely face any consequences (they act in mobs and cover their faces) and they are becoming emboldened by the fact that because they operate in such large groups that it is unlikely anything will happen to them. We want this group to be recognized for what they are, a terrorist organization who's primary goal is to silence all detractors by force, to undermine our most fundamental liberties and to make supersizing first amendment rights subject to their approval. If left alone, this group will become more emboldened and will escalate their violent tactics, which will cause other extremists who are against Antifa and what they stand for to take violent action as well.