Biden administration reverts to the 2008 version civics test as it reverses another Trump administration policy


US President Joe Biden (Image Source:Twitter/Joe Biden)

On Monday, the Biden administration announced another reversal of the Trump administration policy as it reverted to the 2008 civics test module to make the path to US citizenship more accessible. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it is reverting to the 2008 version of the naturalization civics test beginning March 1, 2021.

The civics test is administered to applicants who apply for US citizenship through naturalization and is one of the compulsory requirements for naturalizing.  It tests one’s knowledge and understanding of the basics of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States.

The Trump administration had announced changes to the naturalization civics test, called the 2020 civics test, which increased the number of questions from 100 to 128 and the correct answers in the multiple-choice questions had political and ideological overtones.

While announcing the reversal, USCIS said the revised civics test, “may inadvertently create potential barriers” to the naturalization process. It said: “This action is consistent with the framework of the executive order on restoring faith in our legal immigration systems, which directs a comprehensive review of the naturalization process to eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.” 

USCIS said: “The 2008 civics test was thoroughly developed over a multi-year period with the input of more than 150 organizations, which included English as a second language experts, educators, and historians, and was piloted before its implementation.” It added that it aims to make the process “as accessible as possible as directed by President Biden’s request to review the process thoroughly.”

People who applied for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020, and before March 1, 2021, will have the choice to either take the 2008 civics test or the 2020 civics test. Those candidates who filed applications from March 1 will take the 2008 civics test.

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