Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, has submitted to the Senate for debate an Act: “The Dual Citizens and Nationality Law of 2019.”
Sen. Morais, who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, said in a letter to his colleagues that the Act is a proposition intended to form part of other propositions for onward submission to the Liberian people in the pending referendum.
The current Article 28 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia reads: “Any person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the Person’s birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; provided that any such person shall upon reaching maturity renounce any other citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another country. No citizen of the Republic shall be deprived of citizenship or nationality except as provided by law; and no person shall be denied the right to change citizenship or nationality.”
The Maryland County lawmaker, who is also a former superintendent, emphasized that the key word in his bill is the word “RENOUNCE,” which is so clear that one does not need to be a rocket scientist to comprehend by purpose and intent that the article forbids the holding of Liberian citizenship while holding on to one of another country.”
Therefore, Morais maintained, “If the 21st century Liberia should permit dual citizenship, which I think should be considered in some form by leaps and bounds, there is the need to the first amendment Article 28 of the 1986 Constitution to permit the exercise to be discussed comprehensively and considered.”
Consequently, Sen. Morais concluded, “I am submitting Article 28 of the 1986 Constitution to read thus: “Any person, at least one of whose parents is a citizen of Liberia at the time of the person’s birth shall remain a citizen of Liberia. Any such person shall upon reaching maturity continue to be a citizen of Liberia. Citizenship by birth shall remain a right and no citizen of Liberia shall be deprived of citizenship or nationality except as provided by law, and no person shall be denied the right to change citizenship or nationality. This law is applicable to only citizens by birth and naturalized citizens of Negro decent of Liberia.”
It can be recalled that early January 2018, Senators H. Varney Sherman, Geraldine Doe-Sherif, and Armah Zolu Jallah submitted a bill on the Alien & Nationality Law. A debate on that article raised contention from Sen. Morais, who described an amendment on that Bill by the Judiciary Committee as “plagiary.” Now, just about a year later, Sen. Morias is proffering his version.
It can also be recalled that days after the three Senators had submitted the Act on the Alien & Nationality Law, President George Weah in his first Annual Message (Legislative Agenda to the 54th Legislature), called for the amendment of that provision of the Constitution, saying “such does not need to exist in the 21st Century.”
During his presentation on the Act calling for Amendment in the Alien and Nationality, and Dual Citizenship Law last January, Senator Sherman described those laws as “inhumane, cruel and are contrary to the new terms of nationality concepts and practices.”