Biden admin rolls back Trump-era stringent citizenship test in another policy reversal
- US citizenship and immigration services said the revised civics test “may inadvertently create potential barriers” to the naturalisation process.
The Biden administration on Monday announced another reversal of Trump-era policy by reverting to an earlier 2008 civics test module to make the path to US citizenship more accessible. The previous administration had introduced some changes to the naturalisation civics test, called the 2020 civics test, which increased the pool of questions from 100 to 128 and the correct answers in the multiple-choice questions had political and ideological overtones.
Announcing the reversal, US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) said the agency has determined that the revised civics test, applicable for individuals who had applied on or after December 1, 2020, “may inadvertently create potential barriers” to the naturalisation process. It asserted that the action taken by USCIS is consistent with the framework of the executive order on “Restoring Trust in our Legal Immigration System”, which was signed by US President Joe Biden on February 2.
“USCIS aspires to make the process as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly,” the immigration agency said in a statement.
All individuals who apply for American citizenship through the process of naturalisation are required to take the civics test in which applicants have to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States. Candidates who applied for naturalisation on or after December 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, will have the option to either take the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. Those filing from March 1 will take the 2008 civics test.
The latest announcement is a part of Biden’s policy for “New Americans” as the Democratic leader, in the executive order, called on his administration to improve the naturalisation process. He had directed the secretary of state, the attorney general, and the secretary of homeland security to develop a plan within 60 days to eliminate barriers in the existing naturalisation process by conducting a comprehensive review “with particular emphasis on...background and security checks, interviews, civics and English language tests, and the oath of allegiance.”