By Bridgett Milton
The House of Representatives has passed into law an Act to amend and or nullify certain provisions of the Alien and Nationality Law.
It relates to citizenship and restoring the citizenship rights lost as a consequence of certain provisions subsequent to the enactment of the Alien and Nationality Law of the 1986 Constitution.
According to a report from the Conference Committee set up by the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives, the Alien and Nationality Law discriminates between a person born to Liberian parents (father and/or mother) on Liberian soil on the one hand, and a person born of Liberian parents (father and/or mother) outside of Liberia on the other hand.
The committee said this is in violation of the equal protection clause of the 1986 Constitution.
It said a person who is a negro, or of negro descent, born in Liberia, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof at birth, shall be qualified to be a citizen of the Republic of Liberia.
It added that a person born outside of the Republic of Liberia, whose father or mother was
born a citizen of Liberia shall be qualified to be a citizen of the Republic of Liberia.
Section 20.2. on citizenship by adoption stated that a person under the age of 18 years, whose natural/biological parents are not citizens of Liberia, but who is adopted by a citizen of Liberia, shall automatically become a citizen
of Liberia by virtue of such adoption if such person is a Negro or of Negro descent.
A child who is a citizen of Liberia by virtue of the provisions of subparagraph
(b) of this section shall lose his citizenship unless he has resided in Liberia before attaining his maturity or unless when he attains his maturity.
It provides that before attaining the age of 23, the child shall go before a Liberian consul and take an oath of allegiance to the Republic of Liberia required of a petitioner for naturalization.
According to the committee, a person of negro descent who marries a Liberian citizen shall become a citizen of Liberia by virtue of such marriage without affecting that person’s citizenship before the marriage.
Such a person needs to only appear before a Liberian Consul in any country or before a circuit judge in Liberia and take an oath of allegiance.
The committee indicated that a child born outside of Liberia to parents either of whom are naturalized Liberians shall become a citizen of Liberia through naturalization of the father or mother.
The condition set for such a child is that naturalization should take place while such child is under the age of 21 years.
Such person should appear before a Liberian Consul in his/her country of residence upon attaining the age of 21 years, but not later than the age of 25.
The child shall take an oath of allegiance to Liberia or appear before a circuit judge in Liberia and take an oath of allegiance to Liberia.
“A certificate of citizenship shall be issued by a circuit court to such [a] person after taking the oath of allegiance,” the Committee said. –Edited by Winston W. Parley