Simanaitis Says

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NO ONE EXPECTS Trump to admit he’s a loser. But his actions and those of his lame-duck administration have reached a new low, quite an achievement given abysmal behavior thus far. 

This particular corruption of information comes from no less than the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. As described by Voice of America, December 4, 2020, the USCIS is a “federal agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that administers the country’s naturalization and immigrations system.” 

Civics Tests. In particular, the USCIS gives civics tests to those seeking U.S. citizenship. In 2019, for the first time since 2008 the USCIS announced changes in this test. Officially, these became effective December 1, 2020, though complexities of application may delay their implementation.

As described at the USCIS Resource Center, “The civics test is an oral test and the USCIS officer will ask you to answer 20 out of the 128 test questions. You must answer at least 12 questions (or 60 percent) correctly to pass the 2020 version of the civics test.”

Previously, a pass used to be six out of 10 questions selected from a list of 100.

65/20 Special Consideration. “If you are 65 years old or older and have been living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident of the United States for 20 years or more, you may study just the 20 questions that have been marked with an asterisk (*). The USCIS officer will ask you to answer 10 out of the 20 civics test questions with an asterisk. You must answer at least 6 out of 10 questions (or 60 percent) correctly to pass the 2020 version of the civics test.”

Image by Stephen B. Morton/AP from The New York Times, December 3, 2020.

Raising the Ante. “While many questions have not changed,” Voice of America notes, “some have been reworded and others will require additional explanation in the answers.” 

For example, the earlier test asked to name three of the original 13 states; the new one requires naming five.

The former test asked “What are two rights of everyone living in the United States?” The new one raises the ante, “What are three rights of everyone living in the United States?”

VOA cites Nancy Newton, program director of the Citizen Preparation Program at Montgomery College, a public community college in Montgomery County, Maryland: She said the new test will require greater English proficiency as well, shifting from the “high-beginning level of English” to a “high-intermediate level.”

Tomorrow in Part 2, the citizenship ante gets raised with political trumpery. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2020 

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