The Trump Administration Plans Changes to the Naturalization Exam

The Trump Administration Plans Changes to the Naturalization Exam

Starting sometime in 2020, people who wish to become U.S. citizens will face a new version of the Naturalization Exam. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will issue the new test for anyone who files an applcati8on to take the exam. This has many people concerned since the Trump administration, which has been notoriously anti-immigration, will be the ones making the changes to what some applicants say is already a challenging exam. Let’s look at some facts about the current exam and some reaction to the fact that the changes will be made by this administration.

The Exam

Section 312 of the INA requires naturalization applicants to pass an English and civics examination as part of the naturalization process. As part of this examination, applicants must demonstrate “…an understanding of the English language, including an ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the English language…” and “…knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and of the principles and form of government, of the United States…” One applicant who famously spoke about the difficulty of the current test is actress Emily Blunt who was born in England. A study by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has shown that the majority of Americans would fail the exam in its current form.

The Reaction to the Announcement of Changes

As of this date, the Trump administration has not been specific about what changes will be made to the exam leaving many in the legal community concerned given the President’s actions on immigration since he took office. For example, back in July Trump proposed that asylum seekers seek refuge in others countries before seeking it here. Trump has also previously:

  • Implemented a travel ban that blocks people from Muslim countries
  • Proposed a new “merit” based immigration system
  • Implemented the public charge rule
  • Shut down the government briefly to fund a wall at the Southern border and the list goes on.trump

Also troubling is the fact that USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinell is a staunch supporter of Trump and his immigration policies. He has said of the reaction to planned changes, “…they’re going to be sorely disappointed when it just looks like another version of a civics exam. I mean that’s pretty much how it’s going to look.”

As an immigration lawyer in Van Nuys, It is my hope and the any revisions to the naturalization examination are reasonable and that they continue to give special consideration to applicants over the age of 65 and those who have already been living in the US for some time. I am attorney Erika Roman and I will continue to make sure that you are properly represented in the immigration system no matter what changes are made to it or who is in office.

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