BOSTON – This week, MIRA and 21 of its members submitted formal comments calling on the Trump Administration to rescind their recently announced changes to the civics examination for naturalization, and revert to the 2008 version of the exam. The organizations represent a wide range of service providers for immigrant and refugee communities, including several that provide citizenship application assistance and test preparation.
The organizations argue that the new test is significantly more difficult and more complex, creates barriers to naturalization for those who are otherwise eligible, and increases burdens for applicants, educators and service providers. Furthermore, USCIS has not set forth a rationale for the introduction of the new test and has not been transparent about how the new test was developed. The full comment letter can be read here.
“The new changes to the civics exam for naturalization represent yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to put up unnecessary barriers to citizenship – along with their efforts to increase citizenship fees and eliminate fee waivers,” said Eva Millona, President and CEO of the MIRA Coalition. “These changes were announced abruptly and without input from the communities that will be most impacted, including organizations that assist citizenship applicants like MIRA and many of our members. Together, we urge USCIS to rescind these changes immediately and revert to the 2008 version of the exam. Our nation should celebrate individuals who work hard to realize their dream of becoming a United States citizen, not make the process more difficult.”
“At Center for New Americans, our work is about fostering access – access to living wage jobs with legal protections, access to educational opportunities, access to community resources, access to citizenship and its rights and responsibilities,” said Laurie Millman, Executive Director of Center for New Americans. “The redesigned test is one more attempt by the current Administration to rebuff our work by restricting access.”
The new changes on the CIVIC test is creating a lot of confusion with our clients. It seems that USCIS has taken away the easier questions and have replaced them with harder questions. In addition, they have added an additional 28 questions,” said Helena DaSilva Hughes, Executive Director of the Immigrants’ Assistance Center. “There is a clear message coming out of Washington, DC that this administration does not want immigrants to become Citizens.”
In addition to MIRA, the following organizations also signed onto the comment letter: Amplify Latinx, Berkshire Immigrant Center, Brazilian Women’s Group, Center for New Americans, Community Action Agency of Somerville, Immigrants Assistance Center, Immigration Legal Assistance Program – Ascentria Care Alliance, Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, Jewish Vocational Service, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, Latinos unidos en Massachusetts, MAPA Translations, Inc., Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Na’aseh Committee of Congregation Beth Elohim – Acton, MA, Northeast Justice Center, Rian Immigrant Center, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston, St Mark Community Education Program, Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice, The Right to Immigration Institute, and Unitarian Universalist Massachusetts Action Network.