DHS cancels Trump-era citizenship test, goes back to Bush test

Homeland Security announced Monday that it is canceling the use of the new citizenship test the Trump administration developed and will go back to the test created in the Bush years.

The move is the latest by the new Biden administration to wipe away Trump-era immigration changes, and delivers yet another victory to activists who’d called for a clean-slate approach.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security agency that oversees naturalization, said it believes the Trump test may be too tough to pass, echoing complaints by immigrant-rights groups.

Those same groups had complained in 2008 when the Bush administration implemented its updated test, but the Biden team now says that Bush test is the gold standard.

“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,” the agency said.

The test, which most applicants for citizenship must complete in full, asks potential citizens to study a list of questions. On the day of the test, they must answer 60% correctly.

The Bush-era test had 100 study questions, and applicants were asked 10 questions, meaning they had to get six correct. The Trump-era test has 128 study questions, and applicants were asked 20, meaning they had to get 12 correct.

Alfonso Aguilar, the man who oversaw the 2008 Trump test’s development, said it takes a catechism approach, with would-be citizens learning about their new country as they prepare for the test.

The Washington Times reported in December that the Trump test made some startling changes, including dropping a question on religious freedom and nixing another question about the First Amendment.

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