Nationals of Cameroon allowed to apply for Temporary Protected Status due to ongoing turmoil in their home country
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a temporary legal status established by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, for people from designated countries fleeing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary circumstances that prevent them from safely returning to their home countries. On April 15, 2022, the Biden Administration announced a new 18-month Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon. Following the Biden Admin’s announcement, DHS announced that the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) is designating Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, effective June 7, 2022, through December 7, 2023. Section 244(b)(1) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(b)(1), authorizes the Secretary, after consultation with appropriate agencies of the U.S. Government, to designate a foreign state (or part thereof) for TPS if the Secretary determines that certain country conditions exist. The designation of Cameroon for TPS follows a recent spate of designations and re-designations by the Biden administration. DHS designated Sudan and extended and re-designated South Sudan for 18 months in early March, designated Ukraine for TPS the following day, and designated Afghanistan two weeks later. Advocates and some lawmakers have additionally pushed for designation of Ethiopia, as well as Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
TPS for Cameroonians is the first in history. It will protect thousands of Cameroonians from returning to the ongoing armed conflict impacting most regions of the country, including the deadly conflict between the Anglophone and Francophone regions, the issues in the far north with Boko Haram, government security forces violations, economic deterioration, and the violent persecution faced by returnees. In order to apply, one must be a national of Cameroon (or a noncitizen without a nationality who last habitually resided in Cameroon), have continuously resided in the US since April 14, 2022, have been continuously physically present in the US since April 14, 2022, and file a TPS application by the deadline via an I-821 Form. The issue of what “continuously physically present” means is one of convention. According to the American Immigration Lawyers association (AILA), continuously physically present means actual physical presence in the United States for the entire period specified in the regulations. An alien shall not be considered to have failed to maintain continuous physical presence in the United States by virtue of brief, casual, and innocent absences.