Did I Need to Learn English in Order to Become a U.S. Citizen?

In the process of becoming a U.S. Citizen, besides filling a lot of paperwork, I also had an interview at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office (USCIS). During the interview I was requested to demonstrate my ability to read, write, and speak English. According to USCIS, “You must read one sentence out of three sentences correctly in English, and you must write one sentence out of three sentences correctly in English.”

Although the purpose of my blog is not to criticize USCIS testing protocols, I believe a higher level of knowledge should be required. Taking the test made me feel like a moron because the questions asked were on the level of a second grader. I was asked to read a sentence similar to this “My house is blue” and I was also asked to write something along the same lines.

The interview itself helps the interviewer determine our ability to speak English. I think we should be required to have better reading and writing skills. The first step towards adapting to the US culture is learning the language. The US is a nation where we immigrants must be bi-lingual at a minimum; unless your first language is English.

USCIS should consider other alternatives such as:

  • Increasing the English knowledge level required
  • A college degree earned in the US in lieu of the test

The idea is to encourage us immigrants to get educated; after all, getting educated will be beneficial to us as well as our economy.

Do you think improving the system would be beneficial? What should be done to improve it?

Photo by Mujeyhoy.com

About Alberto Galdamez
Alberto Galdamez, a United States citizen formerly from El Salvador, shares his success story from being an immigrant to reaching the American dream. His purpose is to encourage immigrants to integrate to the American culture.

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