On April 15, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued yet another immigration policy announcement that has nothing to do with the crisis at our southern border, this time designating Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
“Cameroonian nationals currently residing in the U.S. who cannot safely return due to the extreme violence perpetrated by government forces and armed separatists, and a rise in attacks led by Boko Haram, will be able to remain and work in the United States until conditions in their home country improve,” Mayorkas said in the announcement.
Created by Congress in 1990, TPS protects non-resident foreign nationals on expiring visas and illegal aliens protection from removal if their home country is experiencing an environmental disaster, an armed conflict, or other life-threatening temporary conditions. TPS holders also qualify for work permits and may be granted authorization to travel outside the U.S. An estimated 40,000 Cameroonians in the U.S. are expected to be eligible for TPS.
There’s no doubt the Central African nation is facing turmoil with its civil war, which has claimed the lives of thousands of Cameroonians and displaced millions more. According to The New York Times, thousands of Cameroonian nationals have left their home country, fearing for their safety. Large numbers of these nationals have traversed thousands of miles to the Darien Gap, located between Colombia and Panama. From there, Cameroonians have traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to apply for asylum in the U.S.
Applying for asylum in the nearest safe country is more practical than registering for it in a country that is thousands of miles away. However, the Biden administration’s anti-borders policies are encouraging extra-continental migrants to “asylum shop” their way to the U.S.
Because of this, many thousands of migrants are sidestepping applying for asylum in the first safe countries that they traverse. What’s more, anytime a form of protection from removal -or “soft amnesty” – program is unveiled, illegal immigration at the southern border worsens.
As FAIR has chronicled for years, once a TPS designation is administered, it is rarely revoked, even when the initial qualifying condition(s) no longer exist in the designated country. Democratic and Republican presidential administrations almost always renew TPS at the end of the 18-month stint, which means TPS-holding Cameroonians will be allowed to remain in the U.S. indefinitely.
Cameroonian nationals receiving TPS comes on the heels of several mass immigration groups urging the Biden administration to provide protection from removal for these migrants. At a time when the U.S. is facing the worst border crisis in its history, and millions of Americans are unemployed, how is providing amnesty-lite and work permits to thousands of foreign nationals in the best interest of our nation?
Since President Biden took office, his administration has granted or extended TPS to the following nations: Syria, Burma, Venezuela, Haiti, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and now Cameroon.
As FAIR’s director of government relations and communications RJ Hauman said of the Biden administration’s TPS designation pattern, “With the Secretary continuing to aggressively designate countries like Cameroon for TPS, it is fair to wonder what illegal alien population won’t receive amnesty-lite by the end of the Biden administration. Will he end up designating every country due to climate change?”
Yet again, the Biden administration is prioritizing the expansion of legal and illegal immigration programs instead of ending this self-inflicted border crisis and revoking TPS for countries where the triggering crisis has long since passed. This administration should be finding ways to close the vulnerabilities in our immigration system rather than doubling down on its weaknesses by offering indefinite protection from repatriation.