Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, April 15, 2022
The Biden administration on Friday announced it will offer Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to more than 10,000 immigrants from Cameroon in the U.S., protecting them from deportation and allowing them to work legally due to the ongoing armed conflict in the African country.
Once it is open for applications, the TPS program will allow Cameroonians who have lived in the U.S. as of April 14 to obtain work permits and deportation protections for 18 months if they meet the eligibility requirements and pass background checks.
A 1990 law authorizes the U.S. government to create TPS programs for immigrants who are undocumented or have temporary status if the U.S. determines their home country cannot safely accept the return of its citizens because of war, natural disasters or other “extraordinary” conditions.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the TPS designation for Cameroon was justified because of the years-old conflict between the Cameroonian government and armed separatist groups in the country’s Anglophone regions in the west. The fighting has killed 4,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.
DHS also cited an increase in attacks by Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group in Africa. The conditions, DHS said, have fostered “extreme violence,” decimated Cameroon’s infrastructure, fueled economic turmoil and food insecurity and displaced hundreds of thousands of Cameroonians.
Approximately 11,700 immigrants from Cameroon are expected to qualify for TPS, according to a DHS estimate. Cameroonians who arrive in the U.S. after Friday’s announcement, whether legally or illegally, will not be eligible for TPS.
The Biden administration has increasingly used the TPS authority to shield subsets of immigrant groups in the U.S. from deportation, extending or creating designations for nearly a dozen countries beset by war, ethnic violence, political instability and other crises.
The designations by the Biden administration have made approximately 600,000 immigrants in the U.S. eligible for TPS, including citizens of Venezuela, Myanmar, Haiti, Afghanistan and, government estimates show.
Progressive advocates and some Democrats had expressed frustration about the time it was taking to offer protections to citizens of a predominantly Black African country, compared to the TPS designation for Ukraine, which was announcedafter the .