The Corner


The tests immigrants must take before obtaining citizenship has needed an overhaul for a long time. A new one is about to come out, according to this story in the Christian Science Monitor:

It will continue to be an oral test, conducted in English, and will have 10 questions. Six correct answers will earn a passing grade. But the content, which is tightly under wraps, is expected to shun simple historical facts about America that can be recounted in a few words for more explanation about the principles of American democracy, such as freedom.

When I was a student, six out of ten on a test earned me a grade of “D” — and just barely. But for some people, even this is asking too much:

The changes raise the bar – critics say too high – for immigrants to show not only that they care enough to study for a test, but also that they understand and share American values.

I certainly don’t think these tests should be excrutiatingly difficult–immigrant naturalization is a tool of cultural assimilation–but those who argue for lower standards should state their view plainly: They don’t think there should be a test at all.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.