President Joe Biden has scrapped former President Donald Trump‘s more complicated version of the citizenship test, the administration confirmed Monday, over fears that it ‘may inadvertently create potential barriers’ to naturalization.
A policy memo sent out by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that after April 19, the Trump-approved 2020 version of the test will no longer be in use, and the Biden administration will use the 2008 version instead.
On December 1, the Trump administration rolled out a 20-question test, with applicants needing to answer 12 questions correctly to become U.S. citizens.
The previous test was only 10 questions long – and six questions needed to be answered correctly.
Overall, the 2020 version of the test pulled from 128 possible civics questions, while the 2008 test came from a pool of 100 questions.
‘Multiple commenters noted that there was little advance notice before implementation of the 2020 civics test, which raised concerns about limited time for study and preparation of training materials and resources,’ read a policy alert document from USCIS.
To ensure immigrants won’t face similar whiplash as the administration reverts back to the 2008 test, applicants who filed after December 1 and before March 1 and are scheduled to have an interview before April 19 may have the choice to take either test.
Critics of the Trump test believed it showed a conservative bias.
For example, questions about who a U.S. senator or a U.S. House member respresents were answered using the term ‘citizen’ as opposed to person.
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution says that representatives are apportioned by ‘the whole number of persons in each State’ – and makes not distinction in regards to immigration status.
However, the Trump administration fought in court to have the census only apply to citizens, so the question mirrored the administration’s ideal policy.
Northwestern University law professor Steven Lubet wrote in Politico Magazine that the test could include up to five questions on the Federalist Papers, which are ‘revered’ by modern conservatives.
But the over-reliance of Federalist Papers’ questions included one that was inaccurate.
Immigrants were asked to name a document that influenced the U.S. Constitution.
Among the ‘correct’ answers was the Federalist Papers, but as Lubet pointed out, the Federalist Papers were written to urge adoption of the Constitution, and so they couldn’t influence the Constitution itself.
A question that includes the Second Amendment could also lead to confusion as it asks, ‘What are three rights of everyone living in the United States?’
‘Everyone’ doesn’t have the right to a firearm, as federal law doesn’t grant that right to a convicted felon.