The Biden administration announced Friday that it will introduce Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to immigrants from Cameroon in the United States, to protect them from deportation and allow them to work legally due to the ongoing armed conflict in the African country.
Once application is open, the TPS program will allow Cameroonians who have lived in the United States as of April 14 to obtain work permits and 18-month relocation protection if they meet eligibility requirements and pass background checks.
Law 1990 Authorizes the United States government to establish TPS programs for immigrants who are undocumented or in temporary status if the United States determines that their home country cannot safely accept the return of its citizens due to war, natural disaster, or other “extraordinary” circumstances.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the appointment of TPS to Cameroon is justified by the years-long conflict between the Cameroonian government and armed separatist groups in the country’s English-speaking regions in the west. The fighting killed 4,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.
The Department of Homeland Security also noted an increase in attacks by Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group in Africa. The Ministry of National Security said conditions fostered “extreme violence” and destroyed Cameroon’s infrastructure, fueling economic turmoil and food insecurity, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Cameroonians.
“Cameroon nationals currently residing in the United States who cannot return safely due to extreme violence perpetrated by government forces and armed separatists, and escalating attacks led by Boko Haram, will be able to stay and work in the United States until their conditions are poor. The country is getting better,” said Minister of National Security Alejandro Mallorcas. “.
Cameroonians who arrive in the United States after Friday’s announcement, either legally or illegally, will not be eligible for TPS. While it allows recipients to work and live in the United States without fear of deportation, TPS does not make them eligible for permanent residence or citizenship.
The Biden administration has increasingly used the power of the TPS to protect subsets of immigrant groups in the United States from deportation, and to extend or create classifications for nearly a dozen countries beset by war, ethnic violence, political instability and other crises.
Appointments by the Biden administration have made nearly 600,000 immigrants in the United States eligible for TPS, including citizens of Venezuela, Myanmar, Haiti, Afghanistan andgovernment estimates show.
These moves contrast sharply with the policies of the Trump administration, which has sought to end TPS programs for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan as part of its campaign to protect human migration. Federal court rulings have hampered these efforts.
Trump administration officials and immigration restriction specialists have argued that the TPA has been abused, protecting immigrants from deportation for longer than necessary.
Friday’s announcement is a victory for advocacy groups that have been calling on the Biden administration to grant TPS to Cameroonians since last year.
Progressive advocates and some Democrats have expressed frustration over the time it will take to provide protection to citizens of a predominantly black African country, compared to the designation of Ukraine’s Temporary Protection System, which has been announceddistance .