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Biden Administration Discards Changes Made by Trump to Citizenship Test in December

Biden Administration Discards Changes Made by Trump to Citizenship Test in December

Staff Writer
  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the test, said changes made to the civics test “may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process.”

Since the day he was inaugurated, President Joe Biden has been undoing some of his predecessor, Donald Trump’s key policies. Now a month after he took office, he is continuing to reverse some of the plans that could have caused more harm than help. 

One of Biden’s latest actions is meant to help potential Americans. On Feb. 22, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the new administration is getting rid of the controversial changes to the U.S. Citizenship test made by the former president in December. The USCIS, which administers the test, said it is reverting to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test beginning March 1. USCIS said the changes made during the Trump-era to the civics test “may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process.”

The Trump administration revised the civics test in December, increasing the number of questions for applicants to study and updating the number of questions applicants had to answer correctly. Changes were also made to the test’s development process, content, testing procedures, and implementation schedule. As per the changes, applicants had to correctly answer 12 questions out of 20, drawn from a pool of 218 questions. The previous iteration of the test, last revised in 2008, required applicants to answer six of 10 questions, drawn from a pool of only 100. 

When the changes were implemented, critics focused on its needless difficulty and complexity and immigration experts warned it could slow down the process and discourage people from seeking citizenship and legal immigration benefits.In a policy alert, the USCIS said it received approximately 2,500 comments from the public regarding the 2020 civics test and the policy. 

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“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,” the USCIS said in a policy alert. “Due to the comments and in keeping with the Executive Order on Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, the USCIS will revert to the 2008 test.”

USCIS noted that there will be a brief period during both versions of the test that will be administered  to accommodate those who filed for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020 and beforeMarch 1, 2021 and are scheduled for an interview before April 19, 2021. This is because such applicants may have already been studying for the 2020 civics test. USCIS says it will provide notices to such applicants affected by the policy update.

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