Washington, DC – Yesterday, President Biden announced a new Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Ukraine, granting an estimated 30,000 Ukrainians permission to stay and work in safety in the United States. This is welcome news that the Biden administration should build upon, recognizing that TPS is an important tool that President Biden should use to grant protection first to Cameroonians and then to additional African and Central American countries.
Below are several key voices weighing in on the significance of yesterday’s announcement, offering a reminder of why yesterday’s Ukraine announcement mattered and why it should be followed by additional TPS designations, starting with Cameroon.
- Senator Bob Menendez noted regarding a Ukraine TPS designation, “Temporary Protected Status was created by Congress for exactly this purpose — to protect people whose home countries have experienced armed conflict, an environmental disaster or extraordinary conditions that prevent people from safely returning home.” In a statement, the Senator added, “I will continue to urge the Administration [to] utilize this statute to protect more populations who are unable to return home, including nationals of Cameroon, Ethiopia and Afghanistan.”
- Claudia Flores of the Center for American Progress tweeted, “With the announcement of #TPS status for #Ukraine, I am hopeful that @potus Administration will also take a humane approach and grant Cameroonians, and nationals from other African countries who have fled dangerous conditions, a safe harbor in the U.S.” The Center for American Progress also issued a new report, “The Urgency of Designating Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status” that highlights the “extraordinary and deteriorating conditions” in Cameroon.
- Daniel Tse, founder of the Cameroon Advocacy Network, told Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times that the fast TPS designation for Ukraine and the failure to announce similar protection for Cameroonians was “evidence of anti-blackness and discrimination toward Black immigrants.”
- In February, Human Rights Watch released “How Can You Throw Us Back?” a devastating report detailing the pattern of persecution and abuses facing Cameroonians sent back to that country.
According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:
The Biden administration should build on the welcome TPS designation for Ukrainians by delivering similar protections to Cameroonians next, with other countries to follow. TPS and other executive actions are an important tool for delivering meaningful progress and advancing America’s interests and values. President Biden should keep using it.