WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Baldwin today, in a show of solidarity with Wisconsin’s Cameroonian diaspora, released the following statement:
“Cameroon is currently facing a major humanitarian crisis with wide spread violence across the country and rampant human rights abuses occurring regularly, including extrajudicial killings, violence against women, attacks against members of the LGBTQ+ community and arbitrary detention and political imprisonment,” said Senator Baldwin. “For these reasons I’m requesting the Biden Administration issue an immediate 18 month designation of either Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure.”
Today, conditions in Cameroon are increasingly dire, as five armed conflicts have overtaken 8 of the 10 regions. Civilians are facing:
1. A humanitarian crisis due to political turmoil following the 2018 presidential election and 2020 local elections, as well as government repression of political opposition and gender and sexual minorities.
2. Ongoing violence stemming from the 2016 Anglophone Crisis.
3. The invasion of Boko Haram in the North of Cameroon.
4. Seleka and Anti-Balaka militias in the East of Cameroon.
5. An exacerbation of longstanding tensions between farmers and nomadic herders over natural resources, resulting in violence and increased civilian casualties in the Northwest and Northern regions of Cameroon
Of the 3.9 million Cameroonians in need of humanitarian assistance, an astounding 40,000 people are seeking refuge in the United States. Migrants are entitled to seek refuge from rampant human rights violations under international law. Civilians fleeing Cameroon as a result of torture, arbitrary imprisonment, and targeted violence undoubtedly qualify as refugees or asylees under both U.S. and international law. Still, 38.4% of Cameroonian asylum claims were denied in FY 2020.
For these reasons, Senator Baldwin is calling on the Biden-Harris administration to 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.