Citizenship applicants will be asked deeper questions

Monday, January 29, 2007

Why does the United States have three branches of government?

Name two rights that are only for U.S. citizens.

Name two cabinet-level positions.

Name one important idea found in the Declaration of Independence.

What does the Constitution do?

Can you answer those questions? If not, be grateful you're already a U.S. citizen. If you're not a citizen, you might want to study up.

Those were among the questions being considered for a new citizenship test that will be tested in 10 cities this year, aiming to ensure that immigrants can answer questions of deeper importance to democracy than the colors of the flag or the writer of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Emilio Gonzalez, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said 144 questions will be tested on 5,000 volunteers, who must correctly answer six of the 10 selected questions. If they fail, they will be allowed to retake the regular test.

The questions will be narrowed down to 100 before the new test goes fully into effect next year.

"Our goal is to inspire immigrants to learn about the civic values of this nation, so that after they take the oath of citizenship, they will participate fully in our great democracy," Gonzalez said.

Now if there were only some way to accomplish that among native-born citizens ...

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