Sunday, February 27, 2011
Creating New Americans: The Essence of Americanism under the Citizenship Test Liav Orgad, Houston Law Review
This Article analyzes the normative aspects associated with the new U.S. citizenship test and seeks to challenge the test’s purpose, subject matter, format, ideology, and justification. It opines that the test has failed to achieve the main goal of the redesign process: to create a more meaningful test. While the test creates “summa cum laude immigrants” in U.S. history and civics, their understanding is still fleeting. It requires new Americans to memorize esoteric issues, such as the location of the Statue of Liberty, while ignoring the understanding of important ideas, such as liberty and equal protection. The manner new Americans are “created” is a political decision. The choices made today are likely to influence society tomorrow. The citizenship test is a great platform to examine these choices. This Article calls for a complete reassessment of the concept of citizenship tests.
See also Horne, Daniel C., "One Hundred Years of Aptitude:What Does the Naturalization Civics Test Accomplish?" in the June 1, 2009 issue of Bender's Immigration Bulletin.