In a significant development on October 6th, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended a lifeline to Cameroonians residing in the U.S. by extending the temporary deportation relief status through 2025 amidst the ongoing armed conflict and rampant human rights abuses in Cameroon. This decision, which allows 2,090 individuals currently under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program to remain until June 7, 2025, and enables an estimated 7,900 additional Cameroonians in the U.S. to apply, has emerged as a beacon of hope amidst the turmoil unfolding in the Central African country.
This move by the DHS is not isolated. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, alongside senators Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Zoe Lofgren and Hank Johnson, has been vocal in urging U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to extend and re-designate TPS for Cameroon. The lawmakers, advocating for an 18-month extension and re-designation of TPS for Cameroon, which is set to expire on December 7, 2023, emphasized the critical situation in the nation. Their letter poignantly stated, “We urge the Department of Homeland Security to issue an 18-month extension and re-designation of TPS for Cameroon…The Department determined that the designation was warranted because of ongoing armed conflict that renders safe return impossible.”
Secretary Mayorkas, affirming the U.S.’s commitment, stated, “The United States will continue to offer safety and protection to Cameroonian nationals who are currently unable to safely return home due to ongoing armed conflict, and extraordinary and temporary conditions including human rights abuses.” This decision underscores the U.S.’s commitment to providing refuge and support to those impacted by crises abroad.
Cameroon, embroiled in a multifaceted conflict involving a separatist movement in its northwest since 2017 and an insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram, has witnessed a tragic loss of life and stability. Over 6,000 individuals have been killed in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions since the conflict began, and the nation is grappling with human rights abuses and a complex socio-political landscape.
The extension of TPS, coupled with the advocacy and support from lawmakers, symbolizes a united front in offering a haven to those fleeing conflict and despair. The policies and decisions enacted in the coming months will be pivotal in providing stability and hope to many. As the U.S. extends its support to Cameroonians amidst the ongoing conflict, the policies and decisions enacted in the coming months will be pivotal in providing stability and hope to many.
As the global community watches, the unfolding situation in Cameroon and the subsequent international responses will undoubtedly shape discourses on asylum, international aid, and humanitarian responses in the years to come.