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Editorial: Where is the Alien and Nationality Law (part II)

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It is known fact that the government institution charged with the responsibility of enforcing the alien and nationality law of Liberia is the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization.

control and guard the boundaries and borders of the country against the illegal entry of aliens, examine, admit, if legally tenable, aliens into the country and if so desire by the aliens, grant such alien residence status, as required by law, as well as monitor and regulate the movement of aliens entering and residing in the country, board and search vessels, aircraft, railway cars or other vehicles in which it has reason to believe that aliens are being brought into Liberia.

In consonance with the foregoing, the BIN has over the years, had challenges/shortcomings which could have been managed, but to no avail. While some (the authorities at the BIN) may attribute these shortcomings/challenges to “budgetary constrains”, others view them as the lack political will on the part of the authorities to enforce the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia.

One does not need a ‘rocket scientist’ to prove the corrupt nature of our Liberian border guards or Immigration personnel. At the various border posts and checkpoints within, vehicles are allowed through on the basis of how much they pay.

In most cases, illegal aliens onboard most of these vehicles (trucks and others) enter our country without any documentation, while border security personnel celebrate the “day’s collection”. Most border security personnel and those assigned at the various checkpoints within-whether at Salala, Ganta, Luguato or Toe Town, etec., etc, will always complain of the lack of incentives and other hardware to facilitate their operations at these  points.

It is an open fact that at most of our border posts, Immigration personnel don’t even have uniforms before vehicles or motor-cycles. Electricity is far-fetched-no motivation at all. An as a result, the men and women at the borders find themselves in their “own republic”.

At the various checkpoints within the country,  the harassment and extortion which characterize the daily operations of immigration personnel and other security officers are more than explainable.

Commercial drivers and passengers are living testimonies to these facts. Unfortunately, immigration and other security officers care very less to be cognizant of those on-board these commercial vehicles. This is why it is most often difficult for the Government of Liberia to defend some of the reports against it released by rights and other international groups.

And if we must avoid some of these negatives against our state security, those charged with the responsibilities of leading them must at all cost keep themselves away from complacency and other vices that will encourage such attitudes at our borders and checkpoints.

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