Diaspora Liberian Association Wants Alien, Nationality Law Repealed

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L-r: Mssrs. Alfred Sieh, ULAA Board Chair, Frank Carter, ULAA, National Vice President, and Conrade Nyenkan, ULAA Board Member are asking members of the Legislature to repeal the Alien and Nationality Law.

Three executives of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) are calling on the Legislature to repeal the Alien and Nationality Law, specifically Section 22, which speaks of the ‘Loss of Citizenship.’

According to Alfred Sieh, ULAA Board Chair, Frank Carter, National Executive Vice President, ULAA, and Conrade Nyenkan, Executive Board Member, ULAA, the present law on the book is against diaspora Liberians, who because of some circumstances beyond their controls, made them take up citizenships of other countries.

The Diaspora Liberians have been in long advocacy for dual citizenship.  This dual citizenship advocacy was tested in the past National Referendum on December 8, 2020, but it did not succeed with other propositions.

The amended 1974 Alien and Nationality Law Section 22 speaks of ‘Loss of Citizenship,’ which ULAA thinks is a problem for them and needs repeal.  

Section 22.1 states:  “Acts causing loss of citizenship. From and after the effective date of this title, a person who is a citizen of Liberia, whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his citizenship by (a) Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application, upon the application of a duly authorized agent, or through the naturalization of a parent having legal custody of such person; provided that citizenship shall not be lost by any person under this section as the result of the naturalization of a parent or parents while such person under the age of 21 years, unless such person shall fail to enter Liberia to establish a permanent residence prior to his twenty-third birthday; (b) Taking an oath or making an affirmation or other formal declaration of allegiance to a foreign state or a political subdivision thereof; or (c) Exercising a free choice to enter or serve in the armed forces of a foreign state, unless, prior to such entry or service, such entry or service is specifically authorized by the President; (d) Voting in a political election in a foreign state or voting in an election or plebiscite to determine the sovereignty of a foreign state over foreign territory; or (e) Making a formal renunciation of Liberian nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of Liberia in a foreign state in such form may be prescribed by the Secretary of State.”

Carter disclosed that unfortunately, some Liberians back home are fearful that their brothers and sisters, who reside in the diaspora, are going to come back some days to take all their “jobs” away and therefore are discriminating against them that they are not “Liberians” but foreigners.

He historicized that this thought of Liberians at home started in the 1950s when foreigners were coming to Liberia and getting lucrative public jobs.  The fear drove away in 1974 when the law came into force.

Carter added, “What happened at that time was, they wanted to make sure that foreigners do not come here to take jobs. Unfortunately, at this point, it is Liberians doing it to Liberians. Liberians who are opportune to be here are now saying that since that law was passed, we can start to work with it because we still have fears that our jobs would be taken away.”

Liberians at home have over time been in disenchantment over dual citizenship for fear that when given, wealthy Lebanese and other foreign nationals will use their money to purchase all the land of the country.  They also fear that granting dual citizenship to Liberians would encourage capital flight so that money will leave Liberia to support families of top government officials in the United States and other parts of the world.

According to him, only very few Liberians abroad might be thinking about getting a public sector job back home, and that most of them have establishments including companies that are directly impacting the lives of their fellow Liberians back home.

ULAA Board Chairman, Alfred Sieh, says he was born in Firestone under the rubber trees and was fortunate to leave the country during the war to go in exile.

He says despite taking citizenship of his host country, his parents still know him to be their son, but now the law is against him that he is no longer a citizen of the country where he was born and brought up.

Sieh mentioned that Ghanaians, Nigerians or Sierra Leoneans come to Liberia and take up citizenship, but their countries of birth still guarantee them “perpetual citizenship,” unlike Liberia.

He and his colleague, Carter, said they have met with some lawmakers concerning repealing the Alien and Nationality Law that will accommodate diaspora Liberians, who have taken up the citizenships of other nations.   

“Now, when you look at the naturalization certificate of any Liberian, it carries his place of birth. We accept Liberians home as criminals but we don’t want to accept Liberians back home as professionals,” added Conrade Nyekan, another member of ULAA.

The ULAA group recalled that a few years ago Liberians used the Naturalization Law to get out Elizabeth Russell, former President of the Tubman University in Maryland County, which according to them signaled a future action that will be bad for Liberians living in the diaspora.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Am I missing something here? Why do we like to make issues out of non-issues?
    Didn’t the Honorable Supreme Court’s ruling in Jalloh v GOL (December 2019) already establish that both sections 22.1 and 22.2 of the ANL of 1973 are unconstitutional? If so, why then do we need a Legislative decree to the same effect?

    Based on the court’s nullification of both sections due to their conflict with the due process clause [Article 20(a)] of our current (1986) constitution, no Liberian holding citizenship of another country can be denied the rights and privileges of Liberian citizenship, because parties seeking to do so would have to rely on Article 28 of our constitution, which doesn’t implicitly or explicitly address the topic of dual-citizenship post-maturity for individuals whose parents were both Liberians.

    My interpretation of this issue is simple. Until our congress pass a new law which takes into consideration due process for stripping Liberian citizenship away from these actors, the Government of Liberia cannot deny any Liberian citizen the rights associated with Liberian citizenship just because they assumed citizenship in another country.

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    Stop ! Just stop. It seems that diaspora Liberians are really not understanding the trust factor among local Liberians in that country.
    Taking the trust factor only as a job related issue. According to Carter,”What happened at that time was, they wanted to make sure that foreigners do not come here to take their jobs. Unfortunately, at this point, it is Liberians doing it to Liberians “. Not true. Stop it.
    Local Liberians have always stood by diaspora Liberians. Looking up to them as people with the experience to change the status quo and to develop the country. But instead, diaspora Liberians have come only to carry out or to maintain the political status of the regime in power. Diaspora Liberians have become police Directors, but they failed to build institution. They have become military personnels, but instead, they carried the load of the political power that be. They have worked in many administrative positions, but they fall flat on their faces, only to be seen as people who have come not only to take the locals jobs, but people who are desperate to carry out the regime’s political policies, and failing to bring about institutional changes in every aspect of the regime they are hired.
    In short, they come with the attitude of knowing it all, but at the same time failing to deliver through changes. If one will used the police force or the Justice Ministry as an example where they have the influence to bring about change, the police and the Justice Ministry have been condemned Internationally as a forec for national corruption affecting society.
    Checked it out and find how many diaspora Liberians have served as leaders of those institutions, and even as advisers to the presidency of the regime. Some as head of presidential security. While local Liberians are pushed aside watching and wondering is this the purpose that they are here for ? To tow the political police of the regime at any cost ?
    Checked out those areas to find what institutionalized change that was made since they left and returned to the diaspora.
    You guys are foolishly not looking at yourselves and your failure and not telling the truth.
    The failure has all the egotistical personalities with coming from out of the cold, as a person to bring about changes. A kind of personality without substance. Many diaspora Liberians have come and gone, leaving the country how they met it, how they found it and how they left it as the way it was. Without any serious signs of institutional success in building capacity.
    And these ones only believe it is all about JOBS. And that the locals won’t give them a chance to become citizens, because of jobs related issues. Stop It. The locals have given the diaspora Liberians many chances to work and to prove themselves, and to develop the country based on their overseas experiences. But they failed miserably. But it is not their fault, but the locals. They are either too dumb or not too smart to see the reality that they are their own political problems.
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    Think again, about what change you diaspora Liberians have brought about lately ? And the locals will only have to point to failures.
    Your have a nice day, with your God Forsaken selves. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  3. If Liberians are fearful about granting dual citizenship to Diaspora folk, some of their fears and skepticisms have been emphatically confirmed by the deeds of some very crooked folk from overseas. If the vast number of those wishing for dual citizenship were doing so for going home to build the private sector and provide jobs, there would be overwhelming support from folk at home. Granted that some Liberians have over-exaggerated the associated dangers with dual citizenship, (ie, ‘they will buy all the land’; there will be capital flight’) it is fair to say many Diaspora folk who gravitate toward government positions have only contributed to Liberia’s corruption problem.

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