Is the Naturalization Test a good evaluation of American allegiance?

Under current laws in the United States, citizens must take and pass the U.S. Naturalization Test, which asks applicants factual questions about civics and history. These questions may include the following: Why did the colonists fight the British?” or “What are two Cabinet-level positions?” However, what type of knowledge is truly being tested in such questions? Do these inquiries really evaluate one’s civic commitment to the United States?

Ultimately, the test quizzes applicants about U.S. politics. However, some scholars question whether these requirements appropriately reflect true American citizenship. In other words, should the test emphasize knowing generalized political facts or instead, should it focus on other issues such as citizens’ rights and topics that are more relevant in today’s society? Critics of the test say that applicants could theoretically study for the citizenship test by memorizing facts without comprehension of their importance. This would emulate nothing more than a social studies test provided by elementary schooling.

However, eight bipartisan senators recently introduced the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, which approaches citizenship from a different perspective. In fact, the initiative does not mention a naturalization test. Instead, the Act proposes a new approach, which would advocate civic education for immigrants in varied ways.

For example, those who seek naturalization might do so on a merit basis. Such applicants would retain points for civic participation if they engaged in community service. According to CNN, the proposed agenda values constitutional principles, but it adds community service as an integral piece of citizenship, backing naturalization in a more active and productive way.

Ultimately, the Act would aim to encourage civic engagement, providing immigrants with the chance to learn advanced civic skills that aid the community – and themselves. It would also strive to ensure that civic education is not fully standardized in a “one-size-fits-all approach.” Finally, it would look at one’s immigrant background as an asset to society. This is because foreigners contribute valuable insight, which comes from their home countries. This would be beneficial, as research suggests that young immigrants excel when they hold on to pieces of their home cultures.

In time, legislators will reveal whether the United States is ready to adopt a new assessment of naturalization. In the meantime, if you are interested in becoming a citizen of this country, take the time to speak with a qualified immigration law attorney. A lawyer can assist you with the process.