Currently there are two ways to become a citizen of the United States of America. The first one is easy enough, by birth, but the other way has been modified. Any immigrant wishing to become a citizen will still have to be naturalized, but the method is changing slightly. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has updated the naturalization process of becoming a United States citizen. It now has some people questioning if the civics portion of the U.S. naturalization process is more challenging than it used to be.
Starting at the beginning of this month, anyone who applies for citizenship must take this newly revised version of the naturalization test. The civics (history and government) questions have been redesigned. It was intially introduced last year, but Wednesday October 1, is the first day for it to be implimented. For example, the questions, some are saying they are harder, more meaningful, and require more critical thinking. Many of the old questions such as, “what is the Constitution,” have a broader range of answers than the new question, “what does the constitution do?” Other questions may challenge people of low education and those who may not have a profound understanding of the english language.
According to the USCIS, the revised test will help encourage citizenship applicants to learn and identify with the basic values we all share as Americans. They continue to say that the test can assess whether applicants have a meaningful understanding of the U.S. government and history, and in that way it’ll encourage civic learning and patriotism among prospective citizens.
Not for nothin, but there’s a good percentage of Americans who probably wouldn’t be able to pass this test if taken. To pass the civics portion, applicants must correctly answer six of 10 questions asked from the 100 question test. After looking over the questions, I can see over a dozen that the average person wouldn’t know.
What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? Who’s the Chief Justice of the United States now? What was one reason why colonist came to America? When was the Constitution written? Who was president during World War 1? If you can answer all of those, you might be well on your way to becoming a U.S. citizen. But you have to get them correct first.
Granted, many applicants do study quite extensively, as compared to your average citizen who would have learned this back in middle school. But to take it a little further, with these questions being intended on getting potential citizens to become patriotic, does that mean you’re not patriotic if you can’t answer them?
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Click here to see the test questions.