Legislature Passes Amended Alien, Nationality Law Allowing dual Citizenship
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The two chambers of the Liberian Legislature has passed an amended the Country’s Alien and Nationality Law; legalizing dual citizenship for Liberians and people of Negro-decent.
However, the law prohibits people with dual citizenship from holding elected position in the Legislature and certain positions in the Executive including; the Presidency, Central Bank Governor, Finance Minister and Defense Minister, among others.
The Legislature decision on Tuesday was as a result of a conference Committee report submitted by both Houses of the Legislature, recommending the passage of the draft legislation.
In the Senate, the bill received huge support with only two Senators abstaining from the vote; while in the House of Representatives, 20 lawmakers voted in favor, one against and no abstention.
“Our country has dedicated this year to welcome all people of negro-decent and to do that, it is necessary for these amendments to our Alien and National laws to be enacted if we are to achieve our vision and exploration we have set for ourselves. Our country has dedicated itself as the home of the Negro-race, the Conference Committee said in its report read by the Secretary of the Senate, Naborlor Sengbe.
It added: “We know that we haven’t address all the concerns and aspiration raised about the law, and all of us on the conference committee didn’t agreed one hundred percent on everything in this amendment but we assured you that what we submit to you is sufficiently comprehensive as a starter for the modernization of our Alien and nationality law. In view of the forgoing we submit for your consideration an amendment to certain potion of our Alien and National law relating to citizenship and restoring the citizenship rights.”
What’s In the Bill?
Article 28 states: “Any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the Person’s birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; provided that any such person shall upon reaching maturity renounce any other citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another country. No citizen of the Republic shall be deprived of citizenship or nationality except as provided by law, and no person shall be denied the right to change citizenship or nationality.”
The Act was submitted by Representative Acarous M. Gray (CDC, District #8 Montserrado County) and was co-sponsored by 30 members of the House of Representatives in November 2021.
It seeks to amend several provisions of the Aliens and Nationality Law of the Liberian Code of Law Revised, Vol. II.
According to the crafters of the bill, the current law is repugnant to, and is inconsistent with Article 11 (b) &(C), 27 and 28 relating to equal protection under the law (Fundamental Rights) and citizenship.
The crafters also noted those inconsistencies, as observed by the committee’s findings, the framers of the 1986 Constitution requested the Legislature to prescribe other standards and criteria, and procedures by which Liberian citizenship may be obtained.
According to them, the amendment of these laws will satisfy the constitutional provision of Article 2 (2) of the 1986 Constitution which states: “Any laws, treaties, statutes, decrees, customs, and regulations found to be inconsistent with it shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void and of no legal effect. The Supreme Court, pursuant to its power of judicial review, is empowered to declare any inconsistent laws unconstitutional.”
It will now be forwarded to the President for signature, and if he signs, it will automatically take effect upon printing into handbill.
However, if the President rejects it, which is highly unlikely, then the bill will be sent back to the Legislature along with reason(s) for rejection. And this can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both chambers.