Over 90% pass citizenship test...

Not just anyone can become a citizen of the United States.  You first have to come into the country legally.  Or illegally, and get amnesty.  Then you have to apply for citizenship.  And there is a brutal civics test!  It is so difficult that the government decided to give out the answers in advance.

The civics portion of the citizenship test consists of up to ten questions chosen from 100, the answers to which are listed on the federal government's website.  Applicants must get at least six right.  That means people who want to become citizens have to pre-learn the answers to at least 95 short questions!  But there are some real tough questions, like...

"What is the name of the President?"

"If the President can no longer serve, who becomes President?" 

"What do we show loyalty to when we say the Pledge of Allegiance?"

"Name one state that borders Mexico." 

"Where is the Statue of Liberty?"

"When is Independence Day?"

There, that's six questions!  If you know all the answers, you know enough to become an American!

It is no surprise, then, that over 90% of applicants pass the test.  But it should be equally of little surprise that most applicants, having the questions and answers in advance, simply memorize the answers, learning little or nothing about American history.

Even worse, if you can claim that you have a "mental disability," you don't even have to take the test.

Why not instead have applicants actually study American history and answer a few essay questions?  From what I see in the media, immigrants (legal and otherwise) are often bright valedictorians who are at or near the tops of their classes.

Look at how Australia is beefing up its citizenship requirements:

Aspiring citizens will undergo tougher tests on their English language skills and ability to demonstrate "Australian values", PM Malcolm Turnbull said.

Other changes to the citizenship process include:

  • A more stringent English language test involving reading, writing, listening and speaking;
  • Providing evidence of integration into the community, such as employment history, school enrolment or membership of community organisations;
  • Having already been a permanent resident for at least four years;
  • Allowing applicants to apply only three times, and automatically failing anyone who cheats on a test.

Do you think immigrants should have to pass a citizenship test for which they do not already have the answers?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at NewsMachete.com.