President Joe Biden is launching an “unprecedented” attempt to encourage more immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official said.
CNN first reported Friday morning on what it dubbed an “unprecedented effort” regarding the new initiative. “USCIS remains committed to empowering immigrants to pursue citizenship along with the rights and opportunities that come with it,” USCIS Acting Director Tracy Renaud told CNN in a statement.
“There is no greater testament to the strength of America than our willingness to encourage others to join us as U.S. citizens as we work together to build a more perfect union,” she added.
The report also included remarks from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas regarding immigrants applying for citizenship.
“Becoming a United States citizen is a tremendous privilege,” Mayorkas said.
“New citizens, strengthened with the power and responsibilities that American citizenship brings, make our Nation better. This strategy will ensure that aspiring citizens are able to pursue naturalization through a clear and coordinated process,” he added.
The report was released as Biden plans to “host a naturalization ceremony on Friday afternoon at the White House as part of an effort by the federal government to swear in almost 10,000 new citizens in celebration of Independence Day,” according to The New York Times.
The Times noted the naturalization ceremony will be the first at the White House since former President Donald Trump held a naturalization event in August 2020.
In February, Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a rollback of the citizenship test implemented in 2020 in favor of a version of the test that was first put into place in 2008, the final year of the George W. Bush presidency.
The reason, according to the CIS news release, was that the 2020 version of the test “may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process.”
According to The Washington Times, the Trump version of the test covered 128 questions for potential citizens to study. On the day of the test, they would be asked 20 questions from that group. To pass, they would have to get 60 percent of them — or 12 — correct.
Under the restored version, the number of test questions to be studied is 100. The number asked on the day of the test is 10, and applicants need to get 60 percent — or six — correct.
“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 Biden administration’s Friday announcement comes two days after Trump visited the U.S.-Mexican border with Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday.
Ahead of the visit, Trump published an Op-Ed blaming Biden for the “humanitarian catastrophe” he has caused with his immigration policies.
“When I was president, I delivered on my promise to build a border wall to protect our country. All Joe Biden had to do was paint it,” Trump said in The Washington Times article, which was headlined: “I built the wall; Biden built a humanitarian catastrophe.”
“Instead, Biden has enacted the most radical open borders agenda imaginable,” he added.
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