Grassroots Action Center

Re-designate and Extend TPS for Cameroon
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a program that protects immigrants from countries with ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other dangerous conditions.  People from countries the Secretary of Homeland Security designates are eligible to register for TPS. TPS recipients receive work permits, and they cannot be deported from the U.S. TPS is lifesaving. Beneficiaries have the freedom to live in the U.S. knowing they will not be deported to the place they fled, and with work permits, they are often able to send more money home to their families.

Congress created TPS in 1990, rightfully recognizing that it is immoral and inhumane to deport people to countries affected by war, natural disaster, and human rights violations. Cameroon, which was designated for TPS last year, continues to experience ongoing armed conflict and human rights violations. We therefore call on President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to re-designate and extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroonians who are living in the U.S.

Since Cameroon was designated last year, the conditions there have continued to deteriorate. The Anglophone Conflict, an ongoing clash between the government and English-speaking rebels from the Northwest and Southwest regions, has caused large amounts of violence. The conflict began in 2016, when the predominantly French-speaking government violently suppressed protests against its imposition of the French language and system of laws on courts and schools in the English-speaking regions (the Anglophone and Francophone regions use different systems of law, a legacy of English and French colonialism in separate regions). Since then, both the government and the separatists have killed and kidnapped civilians whom they deem supporters of the other side.

In addition to the Anglophone conflict, several factors drive instability in Cameroon. Extremist group Boko Haram continues to launch attacks in the Far North Region. Government forces have detained LGBTQ+ people, including victims of discriminatory attacks who report their assaults to the authorities. Due to these conditions, the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4: Do Not Travel warning for several regions of Cameroon. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that there are over 1 million internally displaced persons in Cameroon, and 4.7 million people in need of humanitarian aid. 

If the Biden administration does not act, Cameroon’s TPS status will expire on December 7, and recipients will lose their work permits and potentially be subject to deportation. There are credible  reports that Cameroonians deported from the United States have been arbitrarily detained and forced into hiding by the government. Therefore, Christians and other people of faith have a moral responsibility to call on President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to re-designate and extend TPS for Cameroon. Extending TPS will allow existing recipients to renew their status for up to eighteen months, while redesignating will allow others who did not arrive in time for the initial designation date to benefit from the program. 

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