Lofgren, Johnson Introduce Bill to Designate Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, and Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced the Cameroon TPS Act of 2021, which would designate Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an initial period of 18 months. This designation would allow Cameroonian nationals residing in the United States as of the date of the enactment of the Act to file applications for TPS, which if granted, would protect them from deportation and provide them with work authorization on a temporary basis.
“Cameroon is in the midst of multiple armed conflicts that make safe return to the country impossible. That’s why Congress should quickly pass this important legislation,” said Chair Lofgren. “Unfortunately, rather than giving asylum seekers safe haven in the United States, the Trump Administration detained and subjected many Cameroonians, like Pauline Binam, to inhumane treatment. That’s tragic and a stain on our nation. I am hopeful that the Biden Administration will designate TPS for Cameroon, making this legislation unnecessary. Whether by executive or congressional action, we can and must do better for the people of Cameroon.”
“It’s time for us to pivot from the shameful, intolerant immigration policy of the previous administration and embrace the true creed and meaning of our nation,” said Rep. Johnson. “The Cameroon TPS Act of 2021 is the humane and magnanimous thing to do by granting Cameroonians who have fled dangerous conditions a safe harbor in the United States. In fact, a small town in my district – Clarkston – is known as the most diverse square mile in America and the Ellis Island of the South. We gladly welcome Cameroonian refugees and TPS seekers in Georgia.”
Reps. Lofgren and Johnson have chosen to introduce their bill on the one-year anniversary of large-scale improper removals of Cameroonian nationals, to bring attention to the harsh treatment of Cameroonians who have fled dangerous conditions and sought protection in the United States. Cameroon is experiencing at least four ongoing armed conflicts – which include state-sponsored violence, nonstate transnational terrorism, and widespread human rights violations – making safe return to the country impossible. Unfortunately, rather than receiving protection in the United States, Cameroonians have been placed in immigration detention, where they have been subjected to inhumane conditions, which include reports of non-consensual medical procedures on Cameroonian women (such as Pauline Binam at the Irwin County Detention Center), violence, and retaliation in response to peaceful protests and hunger strikes. TPS is necessary and appropriate to provide such individuals with peace and stability.