Trump admin politicizes U.S. citizenship test in addition to making it harder to pass
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has made official the changes it proposed to its naturalization test, and suspicions that it was doing it just to trip up applicants was right on the dot, an immigration policy expert says.
“Some of the questions have been made explicitly more difficult—even though there’s no evidence the old test wasn’t challenging enough,” American Immigration Council policy counsel Aaron Reichlin-Melnick writes. In other instances, “questions have taken on a subtle political stance.” One guess whose stance.
“One question in particular raises concerns of politicization,” Reichlin-Melnick writes. “On the old test, applicants could be asked ‘Who does a U.S. senator represent?’ The suggested answer was ‘all people of the state.’ On the new test, the suggested answer is ‘citizens of their state.’”
“This is not correct,” he continues. “Members of Congress represent everyone who lives within their district, regardless of citizenship status. It’s been that way since the nation was founded.” But we all know this is the same Trump administration that has fought tooth and nail trying to erase undocumented immigrants the 2020 census, a fight it’s taken all the way to the Supreme Court.
Reichlin-Melnick notes another test change asks a question that I’d like to watch someone like, oh, Trump or maybe Republican Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama answer: “For example, the old test asked, ‘What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?’ The new test asks, ‘What does the Bill of Rights protect?’”
Reichlin-Melnick notes a Biden administration could easily revert the changes (although the same can’t be said of some of the hundreds of other changes the Trump administration has made). Of course, the problem has never been that the test has been too easy for immigrants to pass. The problems have been massive backlogs at USCIS and intentional sabotaging making it harder for immigrants to become naturalized, just to name a few. Read the full piece from Reichlin-Melnick here.