By Shiva Bhaskar:
In 2012, another study, conducted by the Center for the Study of the American Dream at Xavier University, found that 1 in 3 Americans were unable to pass this exam, which required answering 6 in 10 questions correctly (meanwhile, 97% of immigrants who took the test passed).
Feeling down about the future of this country? Searching for some inspiration?
Go watch a group of new Americans take their oaths of citizenship. Typically conducted before a federal judge, often in a large convention center, you’ll see hundreds, sometimes thousands of people, from every corner of the globe, vow to “support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
In this room, you find men and women who are brimming with pride and optimism, often having waited a decade (or longer), for this honor. Each of these individuals is here for a unique, deeply meaningful reason.
Some fled horrific persecution and violence. Others believed that the economic and educational opportunities they would find here, far surpassed anything their homeland had to offer. For many folks, America offered an opportunity to reunite with their families, and build a new life together.
You won’t fail to leave the room more hopeful about the values which our nation, at it’s best, stands for, and with a deeper understanding, of what it really means to be an American. Let’s keep in mind, however, that for immigrants, the privileges of citizenship didn’t simply appear out of thin air.
If you weren’t born in this country, and didn’t qualify for citizenship through your parents, you are required to pass an exam, which tests your knowledge of American history and government. Out of 100 potential exam questions, prospective citizens will be presented with 10 questions, and required to correctly answer 6 of them. This test is conducted only in English.
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