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U.S. citizenship test changes are coming, raising concerns for those with low English skills

29 Comments
By TRISHA AHMED

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29 Comments

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@Eastman: Lots of people. What a childish comment.

21 ( +24 / -3 )

How many Americans can answer the question?

18 ( +25 / -7 )

Sensible. UK has being doing this for a while.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Sensible. UK has being doing this for a while.

And it's often reported that most British citizens would fail the test.

https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2008/0131/p01s05-woeu.html

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Weed out the nonsense and time-wasters by asking who won the 2020 election. Keep the standards decent.

I understand the desire for functional English and basic civics ( many Americans, Brits and Japanese would fail this on their own countries in my experience ) but knowledge of wars doesn’t seem essential to me.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

@Japantime: As in prepare a load of dull paperwork, your tax returns and some revenue stamps? Hardly the same as citizenship, is it? I want to assume you are actually being saracastic.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

The same as getting the permanent resident visa in Japan. You need to prepare well for it.

Huh? It was easy. I just worked and paid taxes etc. for ten years, then applied for PR, and got it within six weeks. I did zero preparation other than get the required documents in order at the time of application. I would have failed any test on Japanese history/culture etc. as I know nothing about either (and have no interest in learning).

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Whether it's the US or the UK it's more important new citizens understand modern life and perhaps the previous 50 years than the entire history of the country which is hundreds of years for the US and thousands for the UK.

These days, there are many versions of English and American is one version in its own right. More people speak American English than British English. Then there's Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and Singapore.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Gotta have questions about war, one of America’s biggest exports.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

A significant number of Americans can’t locate America on a world map and have poor literacy skills.

That’s surely a bigger problem.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

"Person, woman, man, camera, TV."

6 ( +6 / -0 )

To be fair, they (those who wrote the test) should administer the test to those born and raised in the US, and politicians, to get a fair assessment. If they mess up, then there is something to be said for this test.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

albaleo

   Sensible. UK has being doing this for a while.

> And it's often reported that most British citizens would fail the test.

The last time I checked the questions I would fail without revision.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Many are still shaken after former Republican President Donald Trump’s administration changed the test in 2020, making it longer and more difficult to pass.

One of the few things DT and I agreed on was this test being harder to pass. Same with high school and universities. Stop dumbing things down. We don't NEED more immigrants but the ones that do come in should be vetted much more thoroughly and the process should be more rigorous.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@tokyo_m

The 1900’s were the 20th century lol. Natural born Americans would never pass this test!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

I know that I can. and anyone who wants to be a citizen should be able to.

Not if the rest involved American Jurisprudence, elections, arithmetic or objective reality. You would be objectively disqualified.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

tokyo_m

Today 07:02 pm JST

A current civics question has an officer asking the applicant to name a war fought by the U.S. in the 1900s. The applicant only needs to say one out of five acceptable answers – World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War or Gulf War – to get the question right.

> Eh? None of those wars were fought in the 1900s. They were all fought in the 20th century, but all of them after the end of the 1900s.

Well judging by this comment maybe the complainers are right.

Let me helpi you.

The 20th century is the same as the 1900s.

The civil war was in the 1860s

The Spanish American war 1898

The Mexica America war 1840s

Only the Korean war was in the 20th century or as the question put it 1900s 1950 to 1953, which should be known to most people because it was a UN sanctioned conflict with 22 countries on the UN side and 2 (3 if you count the USSR) on the other.

I hope this helps

2 ( +7 / -5 )

E. None of the above

https://www.britannica.com/question/Was-the-Korean-War-technically-a-war

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Let’s ask immigrants who want to be citizens:

is 81 million greater than or less than 74 million?

Who has been determined by multiple recounts and by every court to be the winner of the 2020 election?

True or False; Violent insurrection against the government to overthrow the government constitutes “legitimate political discourse”.

While we’re at it, let’s give this test to natural born goobers, er “Patriots” and put their citizenship on the line.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The same as getting the permanent resident visa in Japan. You need to prepare well for it.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Who cares, they once even denied a Green card for Europeans with nearly perfect skills, so now enjoy those low skilled in the remaining years after it’s all over anyway.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Many are still shaken after former Republican President Donald Trump’s administration changed the test in 2020, making it longer and more difficult to pass. Within months, Democratic President Joe Biden took office and signed an executive order aimed at eliminating barriers to citizenship. In that spirit, the citizenship test was changed back to its previous version, which was last updated in 2008.

Trump was right. Citizenship should have high value, and be a challenge for immigrants to attain. They should learn about a country's history and culture, and be able to communicate in the official language at a level that does not impede everyday communication. Japan has a good approach to this. Biden and his administration, on the other hand, are hellbent on devaluing everything about the US, including citizenship.

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

The applicant must know all five of the wars fought by the U.S. in the 1900s in order to select the one correct answer, Bliss said, and that requires a “significantly higher level of language proficiency and test-taking skill.”

No you don't need to know all of them.

If you are applying to be a USA citizen and don't know when the civil war was then perhaps rethink things.

This was not an insignificant part of the USA history.

Even if you don't know the when the Spanish American war or Mexican American war were if you don't know when the Korean war was you must have been living under a rock especially with North Korea in the news regularly!

I am not American, English is not my first language and I gave no problem with multiple choice questions.

To be exact they are the simplest type, the most simple common sense and process of elimination.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

I know that I can. and anyone who wants to be a citizen should be able to.

-15 ( +14 / -29 )

Anyways, hey, what’s up?

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

well who cares?

-22 ( +3 / -25 )

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