US extends deportation relief for immigrants from Cameroon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday extended temporary deportation relief status through 2025 for Cameroonians living in the United States, citing armed conflict and human rights abuses in the Central African country.

The redesignation of Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was extended for 18 months from Dec. 8 through June 7, 2025, the Department of Homeland Security said, adding this would also allow students with Cameroonian citizenship to seek work permits.

Cameroonians last year received TPS status, which grants immigrants who cannot return to their countries safely due to extraordinary circumstances the ability to stay and work in the United States.

Separatists in northwest Cameroon have been fighting since 2017 against the majority French-speaking government. Their aim is to carve out an independent state called Ambazonia. More than 6,000 people have been killed in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions since conflict erupted after protests were crushed.

The Islamist group Boko Haram is also waging an insurgency in the region.

“The United States will continue to offer safety and protection to Cameroonian nationals who are currently unable to safely return home due to ongoing armed conflict, and extraordinary and temporary conditions including human rights abuses,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

The TPS extension allows 2,090 people currently under the program to remain through June 7, 2025, and an estimated 7,900 additional Cameroonians in the United States to apply, DHS said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; editing by Mark Heinrich)