Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon
The Biden Administration must provide protection for Cameroonians in the U.S.
The situation in Cameroon is dire, and grows more unstable by the day. Violence and instability in the country make it unsafe for Cameroonians living in the United States to return; Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is designed to offer protection from dangerous situations exactly like this.
Caught between a political conflict rooted in a repressive regime and multiple humanitarian crises, Cameroonians are facing widespread violence and human rights violations, including kidnappings, rape, torture, and the razing of schools, villages and homes. Armed conflict in the country’s Far North, a political and human rights crisis in the country’s Anglophone regions, shortages of food, water, healthcare and housing as well as the government’s continued violent crackdown on political opposition, make it impossible for Cameroonians to return to their home country safely. These dangerous and deadly conditions warrant a designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) for the country. The Biden Administration must act fast to help save lives and keep families, individuals and communities safe and together.
TPS is a critical program that provides many immigrants and asylum seekers an opportunity to remain in the U.S. and work so long as conditions in their home countries remain unsafe for them to return. DED is a similar form of temporary relief granted by the President in coordination with the U.S. State Department.
To date, the Biden Administration has taken steps to extend TPS and DED protections for some immigrants from countries devastated by natural disaster and war, and it must go further to provide these protections for individuals from a number of African nations in crisis, including Cameroon. Members of Congress from both houses have repeatedly pressed the Administration to provide such protections to Cameroonian nationals in light of the country’s ongoing crises.
“A humanitarian crisis and civil war characterized by massive internal displacement, war crimes, and shortages of essentials like water, food, healthcare, and housing make safe return impossible, and we must act quickly to extend protection against deportation to Cameroonian nationals in the United States .” Bicameral Letter to the Biden Administration, Led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Karen Bass
Widespread Violence, Human Rights Violations, and Scarce Resources in Cameroon
Multiple humanitarian crises involving terrorist group Boko Haram, government forces, and armed non-state groups have caused widespread violence and human rights violations against Cameroonians, causing immense loss of life, incalculable human suffering, and displacement. In fact, as of December 2021, nearly 1 million people inside Cameroon are estimated to be internally displaced. Cameroon, which already hosts a large number of refugees inside its border due to ongoing conflicts in Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR), and the current violence inside the country is experiencing a scarcity of essential needs like food and clean water, shelter, and medical services. Recent deadly clashes over resources have displaced even more vulnerable people.
In the Far North region, Boko Haram regularly carries out kidnappings and killings, including suicide attacks targeting schools and civilians; since the insurgency began in 2009, at least 3,000 Cameroonians have been killed. In addition to Boko Haram’s attacks on schools in the Far North, schools have been targeted by armed non-state groups in the Anglophone North-West and South-West regions with lethal results, while government forces have also contributed to some violent incidents. The Cameroonian government’s continued repressive measures including crackdowns on political opposition and free speech, as well as its use of incommunicado detention, has compounded the suffering of Cameroonian nationals.
Conflict in the Anglophone regions has internally displaced more than 570,000 Cameroonians inside the North-West and South-West, and pushed over 70,000 more vulnerable people to seek refuge in Nigeria. The Cameroonian government’s brutal crackdown on protests led by Anglophone teachers, students, and lawyers, who protested unfair treatment and marginalization by the majority Francophone Government, contributed to the forming of armed non-state groups and a deadly conflict. In recent years, the violence has escalated to such an extent that – between government forces and armed non-state groups – horrifying human rights violations like kidnapping, rape, torture, extrajudicial killings, and the burning of schools, infrastructure, or even entire villages have become commonplace. Since the conflict began in late 2016, at least 4,000 civilians have been killed in the country’s Anglophone regions alone.
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