Is the Naturalization Citizenship Test Too Difficult?

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A telephone survey of high school students in Arizona by the Goldwater Institute found that a depressing few could pass the U.S. citizenship and naturalization test that immigrants take in order to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

The Goldwater Institute surveyed 1,350 high school students by telephone and asked 10 basic questions from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services test — including “What is the supreme law of the land?” and “Who is in charge of the executive branch?”
Fewer than 4% of public school students answered enough questions correctly to pass the test.

HERE ARE SOME OTHER SAMPLE QUESTIONS USED ON THE NATURALIZATION TEST:

A. Principles of American Democracy

1. What is the supreme law of the land?

A: The Constitution

2. What does the Constitution do?

A: sets up the government
A: defines the government
A: protects basic rights of Americans

3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?

A: We the People

4. What is an amendment?

A: a change (to the Constitution)
A: an addition (to the Constitution)

5. What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution?

A: The Bill of Rights

6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?*

A: speech
A: religion
A: assembly
A: press
A: petition the government

7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?

A: twenty-seven (27)

8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?

A: announced our independence (from Great Britain)
A: declared our independence (from Great Britain)
A: said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)

9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?

A: life
A: liberty
A: pursuit of happiness

10. What is freedom of religion?

A: You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion.

11. What is the economic system in the United States?*

A: capitalist economy
A: market economy

12. What is the “rule of law”?

A: Everyone must follow the law.
A: Leaders must obey the law.
A: Government must obey the law.
A: No one is above the law.

B. System of Government

13. Name one branch or part of the government.*

A: Congress
A: legislative
A: President
A: executive
A: the courts
A: judicial

14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?

A: checks and balances
A: separation of powers

15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?

A: the President

16. Who makes federal laws?

A: Congress
A: Senate and House (of Representatives)
A: (U.S. or national) legislature

17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*

A: the Senate and House (of Representatives)

18. How many U.S. Senators are there?

A: one hundred (100)

19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?

A: six (6)

20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?*

A: Answers will vary. [For District of Columbia residents and residents of U.S. territories, the answer is that D.C. (or the territory where the applicant lives) has no U.S. Senators.]

* If you are 65 years old or older and have been a legal permanent resident of the United States for 20 or more years, you may study just the questions that have been marked with an asterisk.

21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?

A: four hundred thirty-five (435)

22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?

A: two (2)

23. Name your U.S. Representative.

A: Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]

24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?

A: all people of the state

25. Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?

A: (because of) the state’s population
A: (because) they have more people
A: (because) some states have more people

26. We elect a President for how many years?

A: four (4)

27. In what month do we vote for President?*

A: November

28. What is the name of the President of the United States now?*

A: Barack Obama

29. What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

A: Joe Biden

30. If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

A: the Vice President

31. If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?

A: the Speaker of the House

32. Who is the Commander in Chief of the military?

A: the President

33. Who signs bills to become laws?

A: the President

34. Who vetoes bills?

A: the President

35. What does the President’s Cabinet do?

A: advises the President

36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?

A: Secretary of Agriculture
A: Secretary of Commerce
A: Secretary of Defense
A: Secretary of Education
A: Secretary of Energy
A: Secretary of Health and Human Services
A: Secretary of Homeland Security
A: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
A: Secretary of Interior
A: Secretary of State
A: Secretary of Transportation
A: Secretary of Treasury
A: Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs
A: Secretary of Labor
A: Attorney General

37. does the judicial branch do?

A: reviews laws
A: explains laws
A: resolves disputes (disagreements)
A: decides if a law goes against the Constitution

38. What is the highest court in the United States?

A: the Supreme Court

39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

A: nine (9)

40. Who is the Chief Justice of the United States?

A: John Roberts (John G. Roberts, Jr.)

41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?

A: to print money
A: to declare war
A: to create an army
A: to make treaties

42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?

A: provide schooling and education
A: provide protection (police)
A: provide safety (fire departments)
A: give a driver’s license
A: approve zoning and land use

43. Who is the Governor of your state?

A: Answers will vary. [Residents of the District of Columbia and U.S. territories without a Governor should say "we don't have a Governor."]

44. What is the capital of your state?

A: Answers will vary. [District of Columbia residents should answer that D.C. is not a state and does not have a capital. Residents of U.S. territories should name the capital of the territory.]

45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?

A: Democratic and Republican

46. What is the political party of the President now?

A: Democrat (Party)

47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?

A: (Nancy) Pelosi

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