Washington, D.C.— On April 15, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon, offering an estimated 40,000 Cameroonian nationals in the United States protection from deportation and access to work authorization for a duration of 18 months. The measure affects Cameroonians already present in the United States as of April 14, 2022.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has long advocated for this decision, joining over 200 organizations in calling on the administration to make the designation last year due to the dangerous conditions that make safe return to the country impossible. The administration’s delays in announcing the designation for Cameroon, while other TPS designations have been made more swiftly, has been widely criticized by advocates as inequitable and discriminatory.
The following is a response from Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service:
“The long-overdue designation of Cameroon for TPS is welcome news and a powerful testament to the advocacy of Cameroon Advocacy Network, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and other Black-led organizations that refused to allow Cameroon to be forgotten. Ongoing conflict in the country has killed more than 4,000 people and displaced over 700,000. This decision is a needed step to save lives and keep families together—and to actively rout out anti-Black and discriminatory policies in the United States immigration system.
We urge the Biden administration to continue to generously utilize this critical tool to protect immigrants in the United States—which includes immediate implementation of TPS designations for Cameroon, Ukraine, and others. The administration should also extend TPS’ life-saving protections to others who cannot be safely returned to their homelands, including Ethiopians, Guatemalans, and Mauritanians.”