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Trump administration announces changes to US Citizenship Test

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The Trump administration has announced  that it will revise the current test to become a citizen of the United States.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a statement that it is revising the current citizenship test “to ensure it continues to serve as an accurate measure of a naturalization applicant’s civics knowledge and that it reflects best practices in adult education assessments.”

The agency did not include details about the exact changes, but said that a working group is reviewing and updating questions. In addition, that group will also “assess potential changes to the speaking portion of the test.”

The new test will be implemented in either December 2020 or early 2021, after analysis of a pilot beginning this fall. The test was last revised in 2008.

Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli also said in the statement that the agency has the responsibility of  “updating, maintaining, and improving” the test in an effort “to help potential new citizens fully understand the meaning of U.S. citizenship and the values that unite all Americans.”

-Agencies

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Police say no arrest in Mulwa's murder case as KSN prepares to Live-stream memorial service
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Diaspora

[VIDEO] Revealed: The tough, rough life of Kenyans living in the US – TBT

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BY BMJ MURIITHI

A documentary released on Saturday has shed light on some untold challenges Kenyans face as immigrants in the United States.

Written and produced by Kaba Mbugua, the film, which was released in Raleigh, North Carolina, features a number of Kenyans who candidly narrate their experiences in the US.

Official estimates put the number of Kenyans in the US at 130,000.

The figure is, however, disputed, with some claiming there are at least 300,000 Kenyan immigrants in the country. Many are in well-paying jobs or run successful enterprises while others are students.

MAKE ENDS MEET

The documentary shows that many Kenyans, just like other immigrants, struggle to make ends meet.
Challenges have at times led some — especially the youth — to fall into bad company, ending up in jail, shelters for the homeless, on a forced flight back home or even death.

The film highlights the misconceptions held by Kenyans about life in the “Land of the free” and the subsequent effects.

“I was a criminal … I was arrested for illegal possession of a gun and cocaine,” says Mr James Njoroge who has since been deported.

“I smoked marijuana and was involved in many minor violations.”

Ms Alice Raine, who has returned home tells of how uninformed she was about life in the US before flying out.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Businessman jailed in US for 10 years

She says she was shocked when she landed.

NO FOOD

“We used to eat from trash cans because we had no food and the restaurant where we worked would not let us touch the expired food,” she says, referring to the Food and Drug Administration laws, which are strictly observed by American eateries.

“Our first year was terrible. We had come on a one-way ticket and so we couldn’t go back.”

Another says many well-educated Kenyan professionals settle for demeaning menial jobs just to make ends meet.

“This is because they do not have the requisite papers to enable them compete on equal terms with others,” he says.

Ms Wariara Thuo explains how difficult it was to get a car and a place to stay soon after she arrived in America.

“Authorities wanted to see my documents everywhere I went,” she says.

US-based immigration lawyer Japheth Matemu says some Kenyans do not give up easily and opt for marriage.

OPT FOR MARRIAGE

“However, citizenship through marriage is not as easy as some think. It must be a one-woman-one man union and it has to be entered into in good faith in order to be recognised by federal law,” he says.

He adds that many Kenyans married in Kenya are denied an opportunity to adjust their status because they have no divorce records.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Police say no arrest in Mulwa's murder case as KSN prepares to Live-stream memorial service

“They forget that there is a record trail from the time they applied for their visas,” he says.

Mr Matemu explains why the “Kenyan mindset” has landed many in American prisons.

“Some things not taken very seriously in Kenya are considered criminal in the US. Many Kenyans have ended up in jail for crimes like driving under the influence,” he adds.

The lawyer says people who overstay their visas have it rough but they hardly talk about it because they would not like their families and friends back home to know of their predicament.

However, life for Kenyans with valid student visas is relatively easy.

GREEN CARD

“You are allowed to work and sustain yourself if you come here on a student visa. Holders of other visas like the DV (popularly known as Green Card), are also good to go,” he says.

Mr Matemu warns immigrants against “marriage for papers”.

Mr Mbijiwe Mwenda, a counsellor with Family Development Institute says some people have made business out of marriage.

They marry for papers and divorce as soon as the marriage “matures,” only to marry another “client” soon afterwards.

“One pockets about $3,000 (Sh320,000) every two to three years for marriages that have nothing to do with the bedroom,” he says.

READ ALSO:   182 Kenyans arrested in the US as they tried to apply for DACA immigration program

Mr Joseck Asikoye of Jabali Africa explains why he thinks cases of domestic violence among Kenyan couples in the US are high.

‘DISCIPLINE YOUR WIFE’

“Pent-up anger among Kenyan men is one of the reasons some kill themselves,” he says, adding that they find it difficult  “to bring out the Kenyan men in them” due to the repercussions.

“You cannot physically discipline your wife here,” says Mr Asikoye.

Mr Justus Asikoye advises Kenyans who immigrate to the US to obey the law.

“There is no short cut. Many people are rotting in jail,” he says.

NN

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Immigration News

US to deport all who falsely claim to be citizens following passage of new law

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced it is updating its Policy Manual to align with the Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) precedent decision in Matter of Zhang. Decided in June 2019, the BIA held in this decision that false claims of U.S. citizenship do not need to be knowingly made to make an alien deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The Policy Manual also applies the BIA’s decision to the false claim to U.S. citizenship ground of inadmissibility, as it is virtually identical to the ground of deportability.

Under the law, an alien is inadmissible or deportable if the alien falsely represents him or herself to be a citizen of the United States for any purpose or benefit under immigration law or under other federal or state law. The only exception Congress provided to the false claim to U.S. citizenship ground of inadmissibility requires that each parent of the alien is or was a U.S. citizen, the alien permanently resided in the United States before the age of 16, and the alien reasonably believed he or she was a U.S. citizen when claiming to be one.

Aliens applying for refugee status and for adjustment of status based on refugee or asylee status, as well as legalization applicants, may be eligible to apply for a waiver of this ground of inadmissibility. This ground of inadmissibility does not apply to special immigrant juveniles seeking adjustment of status, or to registry applicants.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: How threats to dial 911 have tamed the Kenyan man in the US

Matter of Zhang clarified that it is not necessary for the government to show intent when it comes to false representations to U.S. citizenship. This guidance aligns with that decision and addresses inadmissibility for falsely claiming U.S. citizenship for any purpose or benefit under the INA or any other federal or state law, provided that the alien made the false claim on or after Sept. 30, 1996.

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Diaspora

Americans abroad must return to the US immediately, says Pompeo

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Americans abroad who still wish to return to the United States to do so “immediately,” saying commercial and government-chartered flights could soon cease amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“We don’t know how long commercial flights will … operate,” Mr Pompeo said Tuesday, adding it is not a sure thing that flights being chartered by the US government specifically for Americans to return home due to COVID-19 fears will be available in some countries.

The US top diplomat urged any Americans abroad who want to get back to US soil to contact the American embassy in the country where they currently are to begin making plans “immediately” to get a flight back to the States.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Businessman jailed in US for 10 years
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