Trump Admin Doubles Citizenship Test Length, Adds ‘More Complex’ Questions


The Trump administration has revised the US naturalization test, making the exam required for citizenship longer and more difficult.

The changes, announced in November, double the number of questions on the test from 10 to 20 while maintaining that test-takers answer at least half of the questions correctly to pass. The questions, which are pre-published with their accompanying answers, have also expanded from 100 to 128.

The answers to some questions included in the test have also changed. The answer to the question “who does a U.S. Senator represent?” used to be “all the people of the state,” and now it is “citizens of their state.” A new question, “why did the United States enter the Vietnam War?” counts its answer as “to stop the spread of Communism.”

Media outlets have lamented this shift, noting it makes the test “more complex, eliminating simple geography and adding dozens of possible questions, some nuanced and involving complex phrasing, that could trip up applicants who do not consider them carefully.” Of the 18 questions removed from the test’s predecessor, 11 were questions that had simple, and in some cases one-word, answers.

Similarly, pro-immigrant lobby groups have slammed the Trump administration’s decision to revise the test, which was last revised in 2008.

“It’s a last-ditch effort on their way out the door for the administration to keep people from realizing their dreams of becoming citizens,” exclaimed Eric Cohen, executive director of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco.

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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