Awareness - April 18, 2022 - We Welcome

Awareness - April 18, 2022

DHS designated TPS for Cameroon and expanded TPS eligibility for Ukraine

On Friday DHS Secretary Mayorkas designated Temporary Protected Status for those from Cameroon who were present in the United States as of April 14th. The order cites ongoing armed conflict, which has led to human rights abuses and significant levels of displacement across Cameroon. This protection has long been requested by immigration advocates, and calls for protection intensified last year as reports shed light on instances of torture, abuse, and imprisonment of Cameroonians deported between 2019 and 2021.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) provides those who are eligible with protection from deportation for the length of the designation, and offers work and travel authorization. It is typically granted for 18 months and can be extended at the discretion of the DHS Secretary. It’s important to note that TPS does not lead to a path to permanent residency or citizenship, and can also be terminated by the DHS Secretary. 

DHS announced on Monday that eligibility for TPS would be expanded for Ukrainians. The original order extended TPS to those in the United States as of March 1st, but has been revised to allow applications from those present in the country as of April 11, 2022. The government estimates that almost 60,000 Ukrainians will be able to apply. The Biden administration also announced last week that they would be launching a new parole program to allow a quicker path for Ukrainians to enter the United States, given the backlogs and delays among more traditional ways of seeking refuge. Full details of the program have yet to be announced.

State governors continue attempts to create their own immigration enforcement strategies

Last week traffic in some areas near the Texas-Mexico border ground to a halt for as long as 30 hours following Texas Governor Abbott’s instructions for state officials to conduct secondary inspections on commercial vehicles arriving from Mexico. The chief policy officer from International Fresh Produce Association stated, “Produce that was destined to United States consumers in some cases will have to be destroyed because of the perishability of our products. This will result in millions of lost economic production not only in Mexico but to the state of Texas and potentially other border states that are now experiencing similar delays.”

This added inspection was yet another attempt by the Texas governor to take border enforcement into his own hands due to his frustration with President Biden’s policies. While these vehicles had already been inspected by CBP, and state troopers are not legally allowed to inspect the cargo, instead these inspections were carried out to look for “mechanical issues.”

In related news, Governor Abbott also began taking small groups of asylum seekers who had been released from CBP custody in Texas and busing them to Washington D.C., another legally and practically dubious policy that Abbott describes as “taking the border” to President Biden. Governor DeSantis of Florida has announced similar plans to transport immigrants out of the state by bus, and has offered Delaware, Martha’s Vineyard, and “other ‘progressive’ states” as possible destinations for such transportation. 

CBP had over 200,000 border apprehensions in March

While CBP has not yet updated the Southwest Land Border Encounters data for March, data from a public court filing on Friday indicates that 210,000 migrant encounters were documented by the agency last month. This is the highest monthly total since February 2000, and is a 24% increase over February encounters. Approximately half of the migrants encountered were expelled under Title 42, which remains in place until its planned termination date in May.