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纽约时报双语:想入籍美国?先学会这128道题

想入籍美国?先学会这128道题
128 Tricky Questions That Could Stand Between You and U.S. Citizenship
MAEVE HIGGINS
2020年12月2日
纽约时报双语:想入籍美国?先学会这128道题

Take it from me, a noncitizen, there is much to learn from the naturalization test, one of the final hurdles an immigrant must clear to become a citizen.

相信我,一位非美国公民的话,入籍测试有太多要学的东西,这是移民想要成为美国公民必须克服的最后障碍之一。

It’s pretty tough actually, particularly the new and expanded version of the civics test that is to go into effect on Dec. 1. To those of us living under The Stephen Miller School of Exclusion, this is one more barrier to an immigrant’s quest to live here. The questions and answers are online now. I’ve been practicing in a variety of American accents.

实际上,这一测试相当困难,特别是将于12月1日生效的新的扩展版公民测试。对于我们这些生活在斯蒂芬·米勒(Stephen Miller)排外派治下的人来说,这是移民来这里定居的又一阻碍。考题和答案现在都在网上。而我一直在练习各种各样的美国口音。

The latest test has 128 civics questions about American government and history. Just getting to take the test usually means you’ve made it through an obstacle course involving reams of paperwork, thousands of dollars in lawyer and government fees, years of legal residency, a biometrics appointment and an English proficiency test. The questions come in the form of an oral test where an officer from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S.C.I.S., asks the would-be citizen to answer 20 of the 128 civics questions; if she gets 12 right, she passes. After that, all she needs to do is pick up her paperwork. Then she can pledge allegiance to the flag and decide which season of “Real Housewives” to watch to truly understand this complex nation.

最新的测试里有128道关于政府和历史的问题。能有机会参加测试,都意味着你已经通过了重重关卡,包括大量文书工作、数千美元的律师费和政府费用、多年的合法居住证明、一次生物识别预约、以及英语水平测试。所有考题都是口试,一位来自美国公民及移民服务局(U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,简称USCIS)的官员会要求准公民回答128道公民测试题中的20道;如果答对12题,就算通过。那之后,她需要做的就是去拿她的文件。然后,她可以向国旗宣誓效忠,并决定看《家庭主妇》(Real Housewives)的哪一季,以真正了解这个复杂的国家。

The latest test is a jump from the current one, which requires you to study only 100 questions, and answer 10 of them, with 6 correct answers, to pass. The Trump administration has left almost no part of the immigration system untouched. It made changes large and small, from thundering bans of entire nationalities to insidious but potent administrative changes like this one. However innocuous some changes may seem, they illuminate the end goal: curbing legal immigration.

相较于目前的测试,最新的测试题量更大,目前你只需学习100道题,回答其中10题,答对6题就能通过。特朗普政府对几乎整个移民体系都进行了调整。它做出的改变有大有小,从对整个国家的严格禁令,到像这次这样不知不觉但影响甚广的行政变动。不管某些变动看起来多么无伤大雅,它们都阐明了最终的目标:限制合法移民。

As with many Trumpian ideas, the seeds were there all along. The Naturalization Act of 1906 first decreed that citizens-to-be must speak English, and while English is not the official language of the United States, most immigrants today still have to pass an English proficiency test. The civics test is carried out only in English.

正如许多特朗普思想,它们的种子一直都在那里。1906年的《归化法案》首次规定,准公民必须会说英语,虽然英语并非美国的官方语言,但至今大多数移民都仍必须通过英语水平测试。公民测试只能用英语进行。

I’m a native English speaker, but I still find some questions difficult to understand. And unlike the study guide online, the questions are not multiple choice. That means that one day, if I get to take the test, I will have to try to keep a straight face as I look into another human being’s eyes and try to answer the question, “Why is the Electoral College important?”

我的母语是英语,但我还是觉得有些问题难以理解。与网上的学习指南不同,这些问题都不是多选题。这意味着,如果有一天我要参加测试,就得必须板着面孔,看着另一个人的眼睛,试图回答这个问题:“为什么选举人团很重要?”

Some people have an easier ride. If you are 65 or older and have 20 years of permanent residency under your belt, you are required to answer fewer questions. This makes me feel better about the substantial errors made by the 66-year-old senator-elect from Alabama, Tommy Tuberville. In an interview this month in The Alabama Daily News, Mr. Tuberville got the three branches of the federal government wrong and misidentified the reason the United States fought in World War II. To be fair, Mr. Tuberville played football for a long time. It is my understanding that this extremely American game involves repeated bashes to the head, one of which is bound to knock out some civics knowledge.

有些人的测试会比较轻松。如果你年龄在65岁以上,并且有20年的永久居住证明,那你需要回答的问题就很少了。这样一来,阿拉巴马州的66岁候任参议员汤米·图博维尔(Tommy Tuberville)所犯的大量错误,就让我感觉没那么糟了。在本月接受《阿拉巴马每日新闻》(The Alabama Daily News)采访时,他说错了联邦政府的三权分立,还搞错了美国参加第二次世界大战的原因。说句公道话,图博维尔毕竟打了挺久橄榄球。据我了解,这一极其美式的运动包括反复撞击头部,其中某一击必然会撞毁一些公民知识。

Speaking of senators, one of the more sinister changes to the civics test is the answer to the question, “Who does a U.S. Senator represent?” The only acceptable answer has been changed from all people of their state to citizens of their state. I’m just a person, not a citizen. Am I not worthy of representation? There was a whole kerfuffle about taxation without representation back in the day, I believe.

说到参议员,公民测试中一个比较阴险的变化就是“美国参议员代表了谁”这个问题的答案。会被采纳的唯一答案从全州人民,变成了全州公民。我只是个人,不是个公民。我就不值得被代表吗?我想,在没有代表却有税收的问题上,以前肯定有过一场混战。

Simone Hanlon Shook is worried about these changes. “It’s just really punitive to people that don’t have advanced degrees and it’s not in their first language,” she told me. She said she was not worried about passing her own test when she took it on Oct. 7. It was the shorter and simpler one. Plus, she is a high school history teacher. Originally from Ireland, Ms. Hanlon Shook lives in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and in past years used the U.S.C.I.S. questions to quiz her high school students as she waited her turn to take the real thing. “The idea was: if you weren’t a citizen, would you pass this test? And a lot of them wouldn’t.”

西蒙·汉伦·舒克(Simone Hanlon Shook)对这些变动感到担忧。“这对没有高等学位、英语不是母语的人来说真是一种惩罚,”她告诉我。她说她并不担心自己能否通过在10月7日参加的测试。当时的测试更简短也更简单。再说,她可是高中历史老师。祖籍在爱尔兰的汉伦·舒克住在纽约州波基浦西市,过去几年,在等待自己参加真正的测试期间,她会用USCIS的考题来测验自己所教的高中生。“我的想法是:如果你不是美国公民,你能通过测试吗?他们很多人都不能。”

Her turn finally came during a pandemic, so the U.S.C.I.S. officer brought her into a room with an iPad, and then he went to the room right next to hers and conducted the interview virtually. She got 100 percent of the questions right and on Oct. 23 she was presented with her citizenship papers and a small American flag during a drive-through ceremony in a parking lot beside the Albany airport. The next day, she told me, she voted in the presidential election.

她终于在疫情期间得到了测试机会,于是USCIS的官员让她拿着iPad进入一个房间,然后他走进旁边的房间,进行了一场虚拟面试。她的回答正确率是百分百,而10月23日那天,在奥尔巴尼机场旁的一个停车场举行的免下车仪式上,她被授予了公民证件和一面小小的美国国旗。她告诉我,自己第二天就在总统大选里投了票。

One day I hope to do the same, so I’m taking practice questions when I can. This one caught me out. “What is Alexander Hamilton famous for?” He’s famous for his cool ponytail and for being a breakout star on Broadway, right? Wrong. Apparently he’s famous for being “one of the writers of the Federalist papers.” Not sure what those are, but they sound serious.

我希望有天我也能这样做,所以我尽可能多做练习题。这一题就把我给难住了。“亚历山大·汉密尔顿(Alexander Hamilton)因何出名?”因为那酷酷的马尾辫和成为百老汇新星,对吧?错。显然,他作为“联邦党人文集的作者之一”而出名。我不确定那是什么,但听起来挺厉害的。

Another one is “Name one example of an American innovation.” Voodoo-flavored Zapp’s chips spring to mind, as does unearned confidence. However, neither is included in the list of acceptable answers. Instead: light bulbs, skyscrapers and landing on the moon.

另一个问题是“举一个美国创新的例子”。马上浮现在我脑海的是巫毒味的Zapp薯片,还有不知打哪来的自信。然而,这两个都不在可采纳答案的列表里。答案实际是:灯泡、摩天大楼和登月。

Hernan Prieto is the citizenship program coordinator at Irish Community Services, a nonprofit in Chicago that provides immigration and social services to immigrants of any nationality in the Midwest. Part of his job is preparing immigrants for the civics test. Unlike Senator-elect Tuberville, his students usually get the question about the branches of government right. They are also familiar with some of the names on the test, he told me. They know who Martin Luther King Jr. is and why he is important. Dates trip them up, though.

赫尔南·普列托(Hernan Prieto)是爱尔兰社区服务中心(Irish Community Services)的公民身份计划协调员,这一芝加哥的非营利组织为中西部任何国籍的移民提供移民和社会服务。他的部分工作就是为移民们准备公民测试。不像候任参议员图博维尔,他的学生通常能正确回答有关政府部门的问题。他告诉我,他们对测试中的一些人名也很熟悉。他们知道小马丁·路德·金(Martin Luther King Jr.)是谁,他为什么很重要。但他们总搞错日期。

A green card holder from Argentina, Mr. Prieto hopes to apply for naturalization next year, and he told me he appreciates what he learns alongside other immigrants. Most crucially, studying civics informs would-be Americans of what they stand to gain and what they need to give if they hope to live up to this nation’s earliest motto. They learn that motto too; it’s “E Pluribus Unum” or “Out of many, one.” They learn that equality is promised by the Constitution, that nobody is above the law and that it is a civic duty to vote.

普列托是来自阿根廷的绿卡持有者,希望明年申请入籍,而他告诉我,和其他移民一起学到的东西让他感恩。最重要的是,公民教育可以让这些准美国人明白,如果他们希望实践美国建国初的格言,他们将获得什么,又需要付出什么。他们也学到了那条格言:“合众为一。”他们懂得了宪法承诺平等,没有人能够凌驾于法律之上,投票是公民义务。

Mr. Prieto treasures that knowledge, but is not convinced that the test itself is helpful. “I don’t know that we need to have a formal test, with 128 questions that you need to learn, and get 12 of them right,” he said. “Do we really need that? What is important for a new citizen is to know their rights and their responsibilities. That is what levels them with other citizens.”

普列托很珍惜这些知识,但他不认为测试本身有什么用。“我不确定我们是否需要一个正式测试,必须学习128道题,并且答对其中12题,”他说。“我们真需要这么做吗?对于一个新公民来说,重要的是了解自己的权利与责任。这才能让他们同等于其他公民。”

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