Citizenship Test Moves Beyond Trivia

Immigrants worry about potential for abuse
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Oct 1, 2008 8:49 AM CDT
Hiep Doan, front, a resident of Boston and immigrant from Vietnam, places his hand on his chest while singing the U.S. national anthem along with some in the crowd during naturalization ceremonies at...   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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(Newser) – The new test to become a US citizen debuts today, and it's making plenty of immigrants and their advocacy groups anxious. Proponents say it asks more meaningful questions—instead of "What were the original 13 states?" it asks things like "What does the Constitution do?"—but some worry that it's too conceptual and leaves too much to the whim of the examiner, reports the LA Times.

“Instead of asking what are the colors of the flag, now we're asking why does the flag have 50 stars or 13 stripes,” says an official. Though the old exam was “sometimes ridiculed for focusing on minutiae,” it was what many had prepared for, memorizing names and dates. “Every time there’s something new, it’s seen as another barrier,” says the director of an immigrant association.