U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that they will be introducing a new naturalization test starting this December 1st, 2020. The new test will introduce more than two dozen civics questions that will require more correct answers in order to acquire citizenship. The changes to the test do not affect the English or writing portion of the test, only the civics portion. According to the USCIS, an officer will "ask you to answer 20 out of the 128 civics test questions. You must answer at least 12 questions correctly to pass the 2020 version of the civics test. All questions on the test are asked orally."
Some of the categories on the test include:
- American Government
- Principles of American Government
- System of Government
- Rights and Responsibilities
- American History
- Colonial Period and Independence
- Recent American History and Other Important Historical Information
- Symbols and Holidays
A representative from the USCIS, Deputy Director for Policy, Joseph Edlow said this regarding the new updated test: “USCIS has diligently worked on revising the naturalization test since 2018, relying on input from experts in the field of adult education to ensure that this process is fair and transparent. Naturalization allows immigrants to become fully vested members of American society, with the same rights and responsibilities as citizens by birth, and offering a fair test, which prepares naturalization applicants for these responsibilities, is of upmost importance to our agency.”
The USCIS says they try to change up the test every 10 years give or take and with that some answers get changed and new questions of course arise. Examples:
In 2000, this was a question and correct answer:
“Who does a U.S. senator represent?” - was “all the people of the state.”
Now, the correct answer is “citizens of their state.”
Additionally, a new question on the 2020 test is: “Why is the Electoral College important?”
I think it's appropriate to introduce new questions that are relevant as we progress as a society. To never switch up questions or introduce new ones would be a disserve because obviously our public servants change and laws are either tweaked or introduced and that clearly affects a society as a whole and the citizens or potential new ones need to be aware of that.
Some speculate that the additional civics questions are in an effort to make it harder for immigrants to come to this country, an agenda that the Republican party and President Trump have been associated with in their perceived push to keep immigrants out. Doug Rand, a former Assistant Director for Entrepreneurship for the Obama Office of Science & Tech Policy as well as a the co-founder of Boundless Immigration (a company that aims to "empower families to navigate the immigration system more confidently, rapidly, and affordably"), says this change of test is "an obvious attempt to throw one more obstacle in front of immigrants legally eligible for US citizenship." I'm not so sure about that...
I disagree. As I said earlier, I think updating the test is necessary and quite honestly our test should not be impossible, but it should not be a walk in the park either. Most things that are worth it in life, you need to put in the hard work and I would say a U.S. Citizenship is certainly worth it so put in the hard work. Then think how much of an accomplishment it'll be when all your hard work pays off. Just my opinion, what's yours?