Sunday, December 10th, 2006

The AP reports that Citizenship and Immigration Services has been working on redesigning the citizenship test. Their goal is:

Instead of memorizing facts and details about American government and history, new immigrants will be assessed on their grasp of the nation’s ideals.

The questions are to be open ended and allow for a variety of possible answers. However, given the recent hysteria over immigration, which seems to be driven in large part by a fear of brown people, I wonder if the new questions are designed to keep brown people from becoming citizens, the way the literacy tests were administered in the past, to keep brown people from voting. In the literacy tests different questions were administered, and different answers allowed, depending on the color of the would be voter’s skin. Leaving the immigration test answers open to a number of interpretations makes this possibility particularly worrisome.

“Some of the questions are just off the wall,” said Fred Tsao, policy director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in Chicago. “Other questions I found unusual. And the range of information that’s being asked for is much broader.”

You can see more about the new test by googling: US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

It is also worrisome that the questions seem to require more knowledge about our government than some of the current leaders of our government possess. The first question cited as an example is: Why do we have three branches of government. The answer is so that no one branch is too powerful. But I don’t think the current US President or his cronies understand that particular aspect of the “nation’s ideals.”

And they hit the spot as usual. See them here.