Immigration: Cameroon American Council is advocating for Special Humanitarian Parole for Cameroon

The Cameroon American Council is seeking Special Humanitarian Parole for Cameroonians living in Cameroon.

Sylvie Bello, the founder and CEO of the Cameroon American Council has been championing for many years for that since 2016.  “Cameroon has 5 armed conflicts,” she said.

Sylvie Bello and Congresswoman Elaine Luria

According to Prism Report, a news outlet, Ms. Bello’s fight in 2016 has led the “Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to finally designate 18 months of protected status for Cameroonian nationals in the U.S. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will protect qualifying Cameroonians from deportation and give them the ability to receive work permit.”

TPS is for people who are already  in the USA and are undocumented. 

Cameroonians were granted Temporary Protected Status in the US, but advocates say more protections are needed

Ms. Bello has appreciated positively that decision. However, she said it is not enough. She still does not understand why Fombi Thomas who went to fight in Afghanistan as a U.S military and now becomes a disabled person due to the war, cannot bring his sister from Cameroon into the U.S.

“M. Fombi who was in the military, had a stroke and now needs support of his sister,” Ms. Bello said. “After he left the military due as a disabled combat veteran, his visa request for his sister was refused; but with Special Humanitarian Parole program Fombi can be reunited with his only surviving family,” she added.

M. Fombi is now member of the African Immigrant Military Veterans ( AIMVET) and Cameroon American Council’s advocate.

Ms. Bello said Special Humanitarian Parole program has never extended to any African countries.

“The policy benefits White people,” said Ms. Bello who gave as example Venezuela, Ukraine, Cuba, countries that benefit Special Humanitarian Parole program that allows individuals who are outside of the United States to request a parole into the United States based on urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons.

In October, Ms. Bello decided to contact congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia Beach to address the issue. And the congresswoman wrote to M. Jaddou,  the Director of the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, wrote back and stated: “Thanks Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia Beach! Anti – Africanness in immigration relief is real. Cameroon is deserving of Special Humanitarian Parole, just like Ukraine and Venezuela. Especially for U.S Military and Veterans with families in Cameroon.”

“We did not just send one email. We had to beg, threat, explain  and beg again,” pointed out Ms. Bello. ” I mobilized my community to make several trips to Representative Luria’s office in Washington DC, Virginia Beach, and even her campaign office,” she added. 

However, Cameroon is not the only country in Africa who needs Special Humanitarian Parole program. Countries like Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Tchad, deserve a Special Humanitarian parole as well, as those countries become war zones due to terrorism.

“They (United States) never give to Africa because Africans never ask,” said Ms. Bello.

The Cameroon American Council is  Non –  for profit  organization that works in 30 States. Its mission is to build capacity relevance, and visibility within African communities in the U.S.

Bazona Barnabe Bado


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