Liberia’s Supreme Court ruled on Monday that parts of the country’s Aliens and Nationality Law were unconstitutional. The case was brought when Alvin Jalloh, a Liberian-born citizen who had obtained dual Liberian-American citizenship, was denied entry into the country without first obtaining a non-immigrant visa.
Section 22.2 of the Aliens and Nationality Law allows the citizenship of a Liberian to be revoked “solely from the performance by a citizen of the acts or fulfillment of the conditions specified in [Section 22.1].” Among the enumerated acts of Section 22.1 is “(a) Obtaining naturalization in a foreign state upon his own application…”
The court noted that Article 95(a) of Liberia’s constitution allows for the continuation of laws pre-dating the enactment of the 1986 constitution; however, the court’s concern was that revocation of citizenship under section 22.2 of the Aliens and Nationality Law impacted constitutional due process as outlined in Article 20(a).
Article 20(a) of the constitution grants that:
“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this Constitution and in accordance with due process of law.”
The court found that Section 22.2 of the Aliens and Nationality Law is “in conflict with and repugnant to Article 20(a) of the 1986 Constitution regarding due process,” and was effectively repealed by the constitution. The court held:
“Section 22.2 of the Alien and Nationality Law, to the extent that it provides for the loss of citizenship solely on account of the performance by a citizen of acts or fulfillment of the conditions specified in Section 22.1 without the institution by the Government of any proceedings to nullify or cancel citizenship in violation of the due process clause under Article 20(a) of the 1986 Constitution, is hereby declared null and void without any force and effect of law.”