More American citizens will be sworn in this morning in Des Moines. Assistant District Director Caroline Pratt at the regional office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service says these new citizens of the United States had some hurdles to jump after they became a “lawful permanent resident” and waited five years. They have to pass a civics test, be able to read and write basic English, have good morale character and no criminal background. While there’s a test as well, Pratt says it isn’t academically hard because that wouldn’t be fair given the skill level of many immigrants. Many don’t have any formal education — in foreign countries, many women weren’t allowed to go to school, and people had to go off to work at a young age so INS tries to make it easy. Questions are routine information like what colors are in the U-S flag. Some basic questions are — what were the original colonies, what’s the requirement to become president, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A list of 100 questions and their answers are given to applicants to study. The Omaha Immigration and Naturalization Service is in charge of swearing in all new citizens in a two-state region. In the states of Iowa and Nebraska, there’s at least one ceremony a month, sometimes as many as half a dozen in that time. Another swearing-in event is scheduled for July 28th in the Quad Cities. Today’s event was held at 11:00 AM in the Federal Building in downtown Des Moines.
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