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Making practical the Alien and Nationality Law

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Authorities of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization or BIN, this week, announced the arrest of seven Ghanaians for illegal entry into Liberia. The seven Ghanaians, who arrived in Liberia onboard a vessel, were arrested in the coastal Township of West Point in Central Monrovia. The Ghanaians, whose names are yet to be made publicly known, is reportedly undergoing investigation by the BIN, following which they would face actions in consonance with the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia.

The coastal Township of West Point in Central Monrovia is regarded by the Immigration Bureau as a major entry point for aliens into Liberia. While many may cautiously welcome this action by the BIN, it is also regarded as “just a drop in the bucket” considering the huge tasks that institution has to perform across the nation. It is no secret that since the inception of the Government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalizations continues to be a toothless bull-dog in ‘check-mating’ the influx of illegal foreigners into Liberia. Such influx may also be resulting to the escalation of crimes of all sorts to include drug trafficking and armed robbery throughout the country.

The uncontrollable influx of illegal aliens at almost all ports of entry across Liberia, many believe, may be attributed to the usual excuse of “lack of logistics” and personnel. Others may also blame such situation on personnel interests pursued by senior officers of the security apparatus at ports of entry and in Monrovia, including the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. There are reports that in the execution of their duties at the ports of entry, especially border points, immigration officers are subjected to threats of suspension or dismissal by superior officers.

Whether or not these assertions are the facts, the need for an urgent investigation to determine the uncontrollable influx at our border points across the country cannot be over-emphasized.  Again, we appeal to the Liberian Chief Executive, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must swallow the ‘bitter pills’ to launch a covert investigation as a way of identifying the problems with the huge presence of illegal foreigners in Liberia. Even though the ECOWAS Protocol calls for the free movement of ECOWAS citizens, it also does not suggest that such free movement should be illegal.

Moreover, while we do not suggest that our brothers and sisters from other countries should be subjected to harsh treatment, their presence and activities must be in line with the laws of Liberia just as it is done in their respective countries of origin. We can only hope that the arrest of the seven Ghanaians arrested by the authorities of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization in the coastal Township of West Point in Central Monrovia will be the beginning of the expected transformation and practical application of the Alien and Nationality Law of Liberia.

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