September 28, 2007


New citizenship test is unveiled: The 100 questions are more abstract, relying less on rote memory. Some say they're also harder. (Nicole Gaouette, 9/28/07, Los Angeles Times)

The Bush administration unveiled a revamped citizenship test Thursday intended to promote assimilation and patriotism -- a redesign some critics contend erects a higher hurdle for immigrants who want to become citizens.

The 100 new civics questions -- which test knowledge of American government, history and civics and take effect Oct. 1, 2008 -- will require less rote memorization and are meant to focus more on fostering identification with American values.

For example, applicants may currently be asked, "What country did we fight during the Revolutionary War?" But starting next year, applicants could be asked to explain why the colonists fought the British. They may also have to describe what the "rule of law" is and outline one constitutional amendment concerning the right to vote. (Applicants are asked 10 questions and must answer at least six correctly to pass.)

"This is a naturalization test which genuinely captures the applicant's knowledge of what it is he's about ready to be, a United States citizen," said Emilio T. Gonzalez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. "It's no longer a test about how many stars are on the flag or how many stripes; it's a test that genuinely talks about those things that make America what it is."

All voters ought to have to pass a test and be net taxpayers.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2007 6:27 AM

All high school graduates should be required to pass the same test with 9 of ten answers correct.

Posted by: genecis at September 28, 2007 8:06 AM

"All voters ought to have to pass a test and be net taxpayers."

And be a male, married and own property. Isn't that also part of your deal?

Posted by: Bryan at September 28, 2007 8:41 AM

Married females can be allowed the franchise.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2007 9:53 AM

I agree with your tag-line OJ. This is a great step. Now we just need to double the number of legal immigrants allowed (with a comensurate increase in our capicity for processing said applicants) and a real border control policy. Hey, at that point, you can even start talking about an amnesty deal without ticking off the law-abiding citizenry.

Clue to the uninformed: The issue is a matter of law and national security. It is not even remotely related to ethnicity. Bring on all the immigrants this nation can hold; it will only strengthen us. But do so legally, and responsibly. It is only a matter of time before the truck crossing our southern or northern border is carrying a dirty bomb instead of or (more frightening) in addition to illegal immigrants.

Posted by: Jay at September 28, 2007 10:03 AM

Double? What benefit is there to excluding any hard-working Americans?

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2007 12:38 PM

Double every year.

Posted by: Jay at September 28, 2007 3:32 PM

"All voters ought to have to pass a test and be net taxpayers."

Yes. It's a conflict of interest when a government employee (say, a public school teacher) votes for an official or ballot measure that affects his salary. Barring such votes would go a long way to cleaning up elections.

Posted by: Brad at September 28, 2007 4:37 PM

Doubling the quota every year is brilliant.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2007 5:49 PM