Here is our annual two-part summer feature on the questions U.S. naturalization candidates can be asked during a citizenship interview, as provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Here are the first 50, with answers – next week's column will have the remaining 50 questions and answers.
1. What is the supreme law of the land?
2. What does the Constitution do?
3. The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution. What are these words?
4. What is an amendment?
5. What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?
6. What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?
7. How many amendments does the Constitution have?
8. What did the Declaration of Independence do?
9. What are two rights in the Declaration of Independence?
10. What is freedom of religion?
11. What is the economic system in the United States?
12. What is the “rule of law”?
13. Name one branch or part of the government.
14. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful?
15. Who is in charge of the executive branch?
16. Who makes federal laws?
17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?
18. How many U.S. senators are there?
19. We elect a U.S. senator for how many years?
20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. senators now?
21. The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
22. We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years?
23. Name your U.S. representative.
24. Who does a U.S. senator represent?
25. Why do some states have more representatives than other states?
26. We elect a president for how many years?
27. In what month do we vote for President?
28. What is the name of the president of the United States now?
29. What is the name of the vice president of the United States now?
30. If the president can no longer serve, who becomes president?
31. If both the president and the vice president can no longer serve, who becomes president?
32. Who is the commander in chief of the military?
33. Who signs bills to become laws?
34. Who vetoes bills?
35. What does the president’s Cabinet do?
36. What are two Cabinet-level positions?
37. What does the judicial branch do?
38. What is the highest court in the United States?
39. How many justices are on the Supreme Court?
40. Who is the chief justice of the United States now?
41. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the federal government. What is one power of the federal government?
42. Under our Constitution, some powers belong to the states. What is one power of the states?
43. Who is the governor of your state now?
44. What is the capital of your state?
45. What are the two major political parties in the United States?
46. What is the political party of the president now?
47. What is the name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives now?
48. There are four amendments to the Constitution about who can vote. Describe one of them.
49. What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?
50. Name one right only for United States citizens.
1. The Constitution
2. Sets up the government; defines the government; protects basic rights of Americans
3. We the People
4. a change (to the Constitution); an addition (to the Constitution)
5. The Bill of Rights
6. Speech; religion; assembly; press; petition the government
8. Announced our independence (from Great Britain); declared our independence (from Great Britain); said that the United States is free (from Great Britain)
9. Life; liberty, the pursuit of happiness
10. You can practice any religion, or not practice a religion
11. Capitalist economy; market economy
12. Everyone must follow the law; leaders must obey the law; government must obey the law; no one is above the law.
13. Congress; legislative; president; executive; the courts; judicial
14. Checks and balances; separation of powers
15. The president
16. Congress; Senate and House (of Representatives); (U.S. or national) legislature
17. Senate and House of Representatives
18. One hundred
20. Answers vary according to state. In New York, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand
21. Four hundred and thirty five
23. Answers vary according to state
24. All people of the state
25. (Because of) the state’s population; (because) they have more people; (because) some states have more people
28. Barack Obama
29. Joseph (Joe) Biden
30. The vice president
31. Speaker of the House
32. The president
33. The president
34. The president
35. Advises the president
36. Secretary of agriculture; secretary of commerce; secretary of defense; secretary of education; secretary of energy; secretary of health and human services; secretary of homeland security; secretary of housing and urban development; secretary of the interior; secretary of labor; secretary of state; secretary of transportation; secretary of the treasury; secretary of veterans affairs; attorney general; vice president
37. Reviews laws; explains laws; resolves disputes; decides if a law goes against the Constitution
38. The Supreme Court
40. John Roberts
41. To print money; to declare war; to create an army; to make treaties
42. Provide schooling and education; provide protection (police); provide safety (fire departments); give a driver’s license; approve zoning and land use
43. Answers vary according to state. In New York the governor is David Paterson
44. Answers vary according to state. In New York the capital is Albany
45. Democratic and Republican
47. Nancy Pelosi
48. Citizens eighteen and older (can vote). You don’t have to pay (a poll tax) to vote. Any citizen can vote. (Women and men can vote.) A male citizen of any race (can vote).
49. Serve on a jury; vote in a federal election
50. Vote in a federal election; run for federal office.