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House passes dual citizenship bill

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Members of the Liberian House of Representatives on Thursday, November 11, passed into law an act to amend the country’s Alien and Nationality Law.

The Act, which was co-sponsored by 30 lawmakers from the House of Representatives, was submitted by Chief sponsor, Rep. Acarous Gray and read on the Plenary of the House on November 2, 2021, seeks to amend Part III, Chapter 20, Section 20.1; Chapter 21, Sections 21.30, 21.31, 21.51 & 21.52 and Chapter 22, Sections 22.1, 22.1 & 22.4 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 as it exists 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 that 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 or repeal 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.

The Bill having been passed by the House will be forwarded to the Senate for concurrence (full bill below).

The particular bill in question is also being back by the All-Liberian Conference on Dual Citizenship (ALCOD), which includes the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA), Liberian Advocacy for Change (LAFC), Federation of Liberia Communities in Australia (FLCA), United Liberian Association of Ghana (ULAG), Liberian Association of Canada (LAC), and Conference of Liberian Organizations in the Southwestern United States of America (CLOSUSA). ALCOD represents more than 500,000 Liberians living in the diaspora.

The submission of the bill came a few days after it was published in the media that some diaspora Liberians, who became fed up with “lack of action and will”, had called on Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon to withdraw a similar bill that he had submitted with his colleagues, in the Senate, for legislative enactment.

Meanwhile, members of ALCOD have extended their thanks and appreciation to President Weah, who had, among eight other proposals for amendment in the December 2020 Special Senatorial Election, included the dual citizenship proposal for amendment. “The President still continues to support our effort for dual citizenship today. It is our wish that he will support the Rep. Gray-sponsored bill.”

The ALCOD members also thanked the Speaker and Members of the House for their support for dual citizenship. They have also thanked Senators Varney Sherman, Abraham Darius Dillon, who had submitted similar bills in the Senate for passage. These diaspora-based Liberians hope that when the bill passes through the House, it will have to concur in the Senate.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-aliens-nationality-law-under-scrutiny/

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