Tuesday, September 30, 2008

USCIS 96:81-90

New Citizen: Maria Vasquez!

USCIS 81-90x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:81-90. Direct download: 81-90x.mp3

Monday, September 29, 2008

USCIS 96:71-80

The Citizenship class posted a new set of USCIS 96/100 hallcards
in preparation for Constitution Day, enabling their schoolmates
to prepare for Citizenship throughout the year.
Chau Hoanh Chieu shows the card for USCIS 96:78.
When you lift up the cover, you can read the answer.
The blue cards in the background are the new USCIS 100.

USCIS 71-80x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:71-80. Direct download: 71-80x.mp3

Immigrants get 'a better test' for U.S. citizenship

Immigrants get 'a better test' for U.S. citizenship
By John Woolfolk Mercury News, 09/27/2008

...For years, scholars, historians and policy makers have mocked the inane questions on the naturalization examination that immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship, arguing that it tested trivia and minted new Americans who lacked meaningful knowledge about their adopted country's history and governance. But that's set to change Wednesday, when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rolls out a redesigned naturalization exam...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

USCIS 96:61-70

Wang Ye sewed together her class handouts
to make a Citizenship study booket.

USCIS 61-70x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:61-70. Direct download: 61-70x.mp3

Saturday, September 27, 2008

USCIS 96:51-60

USCIS 51-60x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:51-60. Direct download: 51-60x.mp3

The Citizenship Alphabet: Mai Anh holds up N for National Anthem.

Friday, September 26, 2008

USCIS 96:41-50

New Citizen, Tam Lam, came to the US in 1979.
First he lived in a refuge camp in Arkansas,
then he was re-united with his family in Milpitas, CA.

USCIS 41-50x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:41-50. Direct download: 41-50x.mp3

U.S. Citizenship and Military Service: Don't forget to file Form G-325B!

U.S. Citizenship and Military Service: Don't forget to file Form G-325B, by Wendy Hess, Filadelfia Ponte al Dia
There is a huge disconnect between the bureaucracy of our immigration laws and our desire to honor and reward those who serve our country. This fact was driven home at a recent naturalization interview held in Philadelphia...

Ciudadan­a estadounidense y servicio militar: No olvide presentar el Formulario G-325B, by Wendy Hess, Filadelfia Ponte al Dia
Existe una enorme desconexión entre la burocracia de nuestras leyes de inmigración y nuestro deseo d...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

USCIS 96:31-40

The capital of our state is Sacramento.
The Governor of California is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

USCIS 31-40x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:31-40. Direct download: 31-40x.mp3

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

USCIS 96:21-30

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren
addressing an audience of 3000 new citizens
(San Jose, CA 08/14/08)

USCIS 21-30x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:21-30. Direct download: 21-30x.mp3

NYTimes: Citizenship Seekers Told Not to Fear a New Test

Citizenship Seekers Told Not to Fear a New Test By KIRK SEMPLE, NYTimes.com
Published: September 23, 2008
A week before the American government plans to start a redesigned civics test as part of the naturalization process, a senior immigration official sought on Tuesday to calm nervous immigrants and critics who say the new exam will be more challenging than the current one...

Are You Ready to Be a Citizen?
Five questions from the new test.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

USCIS 96:11-20

A student displays her personal copy of the Constitution
that she received after signing the Constitution.

USCIS 11-20x.mp3

For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:11-20.
Direct download: 11-20x.mp3

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Series: USCIS 96:01-10

What color is the flag?

USCIS 01-10x.mp3

Today we begin a new series. For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:01-10. Direct download: 01-10x.mp3

At the end of the series, we will present a series of of interviews based on parts of the N-400.

After the N-400 series, we will re-present the USCIS 96 in a "mixed" series, example:
96 "Ones": USCIS 01, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, 91
96 "Twos": USCIS 02, 12, 22, 32, 42, 52, 62, 72, 82, 9, etc

We will take a short break to prepare for the electgion, then we will present the new USCIS 100 in ten question sets, followed by a "mixed" 100 Question series. Finally we will present a dual question series: five questions from both the 96 and 100 questions.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact: uscitizenpod@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog at http://www.uscitizenpod.com/. Thanks!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Constitution Day! Happy Citizenship Day! Part 4


New Citizens: San Cuc Bac and her husband are Chinese-Vietnamese. They stopped by on Constitution Day to tell their class about how they became US Citizens. They signed the Constitution and then went to their afternoon Citizenship Oath Ceremony. Their classmates and I are so proud of them!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Constitution Day! Happy Citizenship Day! Part 3


Teacher Judy's Class read the Preamble to the US Constitution to the students who were waiting in line to sign the Constituion.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Happy Constitution Day! Happy Citizenship Day! Part 2


It's Constitution Day!


The students line up to sign The Constitution.


A student proudly display his constitution worksheet.


New Citizens: San Cuc Bac and her husband stopped by to sign The Constitution before going to their afternoon Citizenship Oath Ceremony. They are standing in front of the USCIS 96 hall cards.

More photos tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Happy Consitution Day! Happy Citizenship Day!


Today we will

  • Study the Constitution.

  • Ask the new citizens to talk about studying for citizenship and what has happened after they became citizens.

  • Assign classmates to help people sign the Constitution and give each student a copy.

  • Sign the Constitution.

  • Eat cake!

Here are some Constitution Day Resources from us @ US Citizenship Podcast.

            Monday, September 15, 2008

            Preparing for Constitution Day

            USCIS 100 Hall Card
            Our school is counting down the hours to Constitution Day.

            Since the first day of school (August 250 we have been getting to know each other, setting goals, and studying the Constitution every day.

            Last week, we printed out the slides for the Constitution ppt and posted them in the hall. We also added some posters about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other govenrment displays.

            On Saturday, we ordered three sheet cakes that said: HAPPY CONSTITUTION DAY! HAPPY CITIZENSHIP DAY! and one cake that said: WE SIGNED THE CONSTITUTION. These cakes will be served at the post-signing reception for the day and evening classes.

            We also ordered 1500 postcards to be sent to the CA State Legislature that said PASS THE STATE BUDGET! FULLY FUND ADULT EDUCATION plus two quotes from the 1st Amendment & the CA Constitution about petitioning the government. These postcrds were going to be distributed during the "I signed the Constitution" ceremony to link the Constitution with civic participation. On Monday, the CA Legislature announced a "deal"--yeah! (We are keeping the postcards for next budget crisis). We also ordered 500 copies of the Constitution to be printed on 8.5x11" pieces of "antique resume" paper. The copies of the Constitution will be given to each student.


            Yesterday, assembled the USCIS 100 hall-cards.
            • We printed out each of the USCIS 100 questions on separate white sheets of 8.5x11" paper.

            • We printed out all the USCIS 100 answers on separate white sheets of 8.5x11" paper.

            • We used a paper cutter to cut the questions and answers down to 8.5x5.5" rectangles.

            • We folded a 9x11" pieces of Federal Blue construction paper in half.

            • We used a glue stick to glue the corners of the questions on the outside of the hall card.

            • We used a glue stick to glue the corners of the answers on the inside of the hall card.

            Today we will:

            • Put four loops of blue sticky-tape on the back of the hall cards and hung them up in four rows of twenty-five cards.

            • Make hall cards for the USCIS 96. We will use red construction paper.

            • Un-roll the big Constitution and parchment paper.

            • Sharpen the quills and test the ink.

            • Set up tables in the hallway.



            Tomorrow we will


            • Study the Constitution.

            • Ask the new citizens to talk about studying for citizenship and what has happened after they became citizens.

            • We will assign classmates to help people sign the Constitution and give each student a copy.

            • Each class will come and sign the Constitution.

            • Eat cake!

            Here are more resources for Constitution Day!



            The National Constitution Center held the first “America Reads the Constitution” on September 17, 2004. A diverse group of people read the Constitution from start to finish, from “We the People” to the final words of the 27th Amendment. The NCC has developed a
            downloadable toolkit for the public reading of the Constitution. The NCChas divided the Constitution into 100 reading sections, so that the Constitution can reflect thediversity of the community.

            Listen to the Constitution: Debra Jean Dean reads The Constitution of the United States (Including all amendments)
            >>Download the entire audio file.(62 megs, 68 minutes, high-quality MP3).
            Download the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments of the Constitution)

            Need a copy of the Constitution for your class, but it too late to order? Go here and download #3 Constitution for the United States — Formatted to print on two sides of one letter-size sheet of paper. (click the black square for a Word.doc)
            Don't have parchment or a quill pen? The American Bar Association invites everyone to Sign the Constitution online.
            Crossword, Word Search, & Treasure Hunt Puzzles from Constitution Facts
            Choose one of the following puzzles to print out.

            1: Countdown to Constitution Day



            Here is a slide show of the US Constituion. You can download it

            Sunday, September 14, 2008

            2: Countdown to Constitution Day

            James Madison, the fourth president of the United States
            and remembered as the "father of the U.S. Constitution,"
            was honored Oct. 18, 2001 when the USPS issued
            a new commemorative postage stamp
            marking the 250th anniversary of his birth.

            Here is class handout of a Summary of the US Constitution.
            Direct download: const-summary.pdf

            Saturday, September 13, 2008

            3: Countdown to Constitution Day

            Today's Topic: The 27th Amendment

            27th Amendment: Congress must limit when and how much its members are paid. 1992.

            On January 9, 2008, many elected federal employess got a 2.5% COLA (cost of living) increase. Their last raise was in January 2006.

            Congress members annual salaries were raised from $165,200 to $169,300.

            Associate Supreme Court Justices annual salaries were raised from $203,000 to $208,100.

            Chief Justice John Robert's annual salary was raised from $212,100 to $217,400.

            Vice-President Dick Cheney's annual salary was raised from $215,700 to $221,100.

            President George W. Bush did not get a raise. The president's annual salary $400,000.

            The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage will be raised from $6.55/hr (05/27/07) to $7.25/hr (07/24/09).

            Some cities and states passed laws to make their local businesses pay their employees a higher local minimum wage to match the living expenses in their area. For example:
            • Workers in California are paid a minimum of $8.00/hr.
            • Workers in San Francisco are paid a minimum of $9.36/hr.
            However, a living wage is the hourly wage that a person must earn to support his- or her-self by working full-time (2080 hours per year). For example:
            • A single adult need to make $12.10/hr to live in San Francisco. The amount needed rapidly rises with the inclusion of dependents.

            ESLPodcast 106 - High School Jobs
            I started the day after my 16th birthday, qualifying me for a slightly higher minimum wage.

            VOANews: On the Job, at Minimum Wage
            About three percent of American workers who are paid by the hour earn the lowest rate permitted by law.

            See also:

            Friday, September 12, 2008

            4: Countdown to Constitution Day


            Rock the Vote @ Sundance, 2008

            26th Amendment: US citizens who are 18 years old or older have the right to vote. 1971.

            VOANews: Nixon Promises to 'Bring the American People Together' After '68 Win
            Richard Nixon lost the 1960 election to John Kennedy, but he was known for his ability to fight, to lose, and to keep trying. Those skills would soon be tested. Transcript

            Rock the Vote
            Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build the political power of young people.
            Rock the Vote2008: YouTube

            Thursday, September 11, 2008

            5: Countdown to Constitution Day

            President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
            was suceeded by his Vice-President Lyndon Johnson

            Today's Topic: The 25th Amendment

            The 25th Amendment: If the president dies or cannot serve, the vice-president becomes president. If both die, the Speaker of the House becomes president. 1967.

            VOANew: Making of a Nation: The Presidency of John Kennedy Begins With Great Energy, but Ends in Tragedy
            He stood strong against the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis, and proposed a law to guarantee equal treatment of blacks. Then came the gunshots in Dallas in November 22, 1963.

            VOANEWS: Making of a Nation: Johnson Takes Over Presidency After Kennedy's Murder
            Lyndon Johnson had a lot of political experience. He had been President Kennedy's vice president, and had served for many years in the Senate and House of Representatives.

            Wednesday, September 10, 2008

            6: Countdown to Constitution Day

            Today's Topic:
            The 24th Amendment

            24th Amendment made it illegal to make a citizen pay a voting fee. It is illegal to make a citizen take a reading test to vote. The 24th Amendment (1964) and the Civil Rights Movement led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. crushed Jim Crow laws which discriminated against African Americans.


            Library of Congress: Poll Tax Abolished I
            Library of Congress: Poll Tax Abolished II
            Breaking News English - Rosa Parks (Oct 26, 2005)
            Oct 26, 2005 ... He said she was a symbol of the civil rights movement. He also said: “Just by a simple act of sitting down she stood up for so many people.” ...

            VOANEWS: Civil Rights Movement: In the '60s, a Struggle for Equality in US: Activists marched, held sit-in protests and led "freedom rides" to demand better treatment of black Americans. Martin Luther King Junior lived by the idea of nonviolence, but his murder led to riots in more than 100 cities.

            Monday, September 8, 2008

            New USCIS 100 Flashcards!

            The new USCIS 100 flashcards have been posted. You can download the pdf.

            A reverse color version of the flashcards (white background) is also available.

            The actual size of the cards is 7 inch by 4 inch; the online versions are slightly smaller so that they will fit onto letter-size paper.

            You can also buy the new flash cards:

            Civics Flash Cards for the New Naturalization Test, 2008 (1 box of flash cards) $13.00

            Civics Flash Cards for the New Naturalization Test, 2008 (Package of 10 Boxes of Flash Cards) Price: $91.00

            8: Countdown to Constitution Day

            President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
            March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945

            Today's Topic: The 20th & 22nd Amendments

            20th Amendment: The President used to be inaugurated in March. The inauguration was moved up to January, to stop "lame duck" government. FDR was the last president to be inaugurated in March. The 20th Amendment was added in 1933.

            • 96:83. In what month is the new President inaugurated?
            22nd Amendment: The President cannot serve for more than two terms. FDR was elected to four terms as president and died in office. The 22nd Amendment was added in 1951.
            • 96:44. How many full terms can a President serve?
            • 100:26. We elect a President for how many years?
            • 100:80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?

            VOANews: 'Happy Days Are Here Again': FDR, One of America's Greatest PresidentsFranklin Delano Roosevelt served longer than any other U.S. president. With his New Deal, he led the nation through its worst economic crisis. And, until his death, he led America through World War Two.

            English Test: Idioms--Cats, Dogs, and Ducks

            Sunday, September 7, 2008

            9: Countdown to Constitution Day


            Today's Topic: The Nineteenth Amendment.

            The Nineteenth Amendment gave suffrage (the right to vote) to women.

            VOANews: Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906: She Led the Fight to Gain Equal Rights for Women, Including the Right to Vote
            The nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution won final approval in 1920 but she did not live to see it. Transcript of radio broadcast: 14 June 2008

            VOANews: Betty Friedan: A Leader in the Modern Women’s Rights Movement

            The life story of the woman who helped start the National Organization for Women. Her 1963 work "The Feminine Mystique" has been called one of the most influential books of the twentieth century.

            Other Interesting Websites

            Saturday, September 6, 2008

            10: Countdown to Constitution Day


            Today's Topic: The 18th and 21st Amendments

            18th Alcohol is illegal. (Prohibition). 1919.

            21st Alcohol is legal. Each state can make laws about making, selling, and drinking alcohol. 1933.

            The 18th Amendment was passed to protect the health and safety of the American people. Instead of preventing alcoholism, Prohibition contributed to the rise of organized crime. The 21st Amendment made the alcohol legal and controlled by many federal, state, and local laws.

            Although a US citizen can vote at the age of 18 years, the legal drinking age can be older. In the State of California, a person must be 21 years old to drink alcohol.

            On the N-400, and during the Citizenship interview, you will be asked:

            The USCIS is not asking: Have you ever been drunk?

            • The USCIS is concerned that alcohol abuse prevents citizens from freely exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
            • Example: if a person is drunk when they vote, they cannot make a good decision.
            • Alcohol abuse can also lead to crimes such as drunk driving or maintaining a safe work place.

            Here are some groups that help alcoholics and people affected by alcoholism:

            • Alcoholics Anonymous: is an informal meeting for recovering and recovered alcoholics.

            • Al-Anon/Alateen: Al-Anon is an informal meeting for friends and family members of alcoholics. Alateen is an informal for young adullts (12-24).

            • MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving: is a group that works to stop drunk driving, supports those affected by drunk driving, and prevents underage drinking.

            Friday, September 5, 2008

            11: Countdown to Constitution Day

            The US Senate in the Capitol

            US Senators from the State of California:
            Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein

            Today's Topic: The 17th Amendment

            17th Amendment says that the people--not the state legislature--can elect US Senators.

            Questions from the current USCIS History and Government test:
            • 96:22. What makes up Congress?
            • 96:25. How many Senators are there in Congress?
            • 96:26. For how long do we elect each Senator?
            • 96:27. Name two Senators from your state.
            • 96:47. Why are there 100 Senators in the United States Senate?
            • 96:84. How many times may a Senator or Congressman be re-elected?
            Questions from the new USCIS History and Government test:
            • 100:16. Who makes federal laws?
            • 100:17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*
            • 100:18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
            • 100:19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
            • 100:20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?*
            • 100:24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
            • 100:55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?

            US Senate Website

            Wiki Senate

            Thursday, September 4, 2008

            12: Countdown to Constitution Day

            Too smal? Click the photo.

            Today's Topic: The 16th Amendment

            16th amendment says that Congress can tax income. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is the government that collects taxes. Every year on April 15th, millions of citizens and non-citizens fill-out the 1040 Federal Income Tax form and send it to the IRS on April 15th. People must send in 540 State Tax forms, too.

            Compare the IRS 1040 to the USCIS N400. Both forms ask similar questions: name, address, marital status, etc. Furthermore, the N400 not only asks about job history (Part 6B), but also asks about income tax:

            • Part 10 A 5. Do you owe any Federal, state or local taxes that are overdue?
            • Part 10 C 13. Have you ever called yourself a ''nonresident'' on a Federal, state or local tax return?
            • Part 10 C 14. Have you ever failed to file a Federal, state or local tax return because you considered yourself to be a "nonresident"?

            Did you know that the most important use of a social security number is to identity a tax payer? The SSN not only identifies you as a taxpayer on the 1040 & 540, the SSN appears on your other financial papers: W-2, W-4 form, paychecks, and bank statements.

            It is very, very important to keep your SSN safe and guard against identity theft. It is very very, very important to pay taxes evey year to support your local, state, and federal government.

            Wednesday, September 3, 2008

            13: Countdown to Constitution Day

            Today's Topic: The 15th Amendment

            After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment gave the right to vote to all male US Citizens.

            However, some communities refused to allow certain minorities to vote.

            Women could not vote until the 19th Amendment (1920).

            The Chinese Exclusion Act which took away the right to vote from US native-born citizens of Asian ancestry was repealed in 1943.

            Jim Crow laws in the Southern United States which strongly discouraged African-Americans to vote was repealed by the 24th Amendment, 1964 & the Voting Rights Act 1965.

            Here is a pdf of Voting Rights.

            Here is a pdf of Voting Cloze Essay.

            To read, listen, and watch more about the presidential election, go to VOANews USA Votes 2008.

            Tuesday, September 2, 2008

            New 100 Questions--Spanish! Preguntas de cívismo (historia y sistema de gobierno) para el Examen de Naturalización rediseñado


            New 100 Questions--Chinese! 公民(歷史與政府)歸化新試題


            14: Countdown to Constitution Day

            The 14th Amendment defines the requrements for US Citizenship. Every person born in the United States is a citizen. An immigrant can become a naturalized citizen.

            September 17th is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. In preparation, here are some practice interviews for each part of the N-400.

            Check out the National Constitution Center for more ideas about how to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.

            Monday, September 1, 2008

            15: Countdown to Constitution Day


            Labor Day Special

            The US Citizenship Podcast Labor Day Special (MP3) features a story (PDF) about a retired couple, Mr & Mrs Hsun, exerpt of the work & travel sections of Mrs Hsun's interview, and a quick connection between the 13th Amendment and Labor Day.


            Five Labor Leaders Who Improved Conditions for American Workers
            In Honor of Labor Day, September 1, we tell about Samuel Gompers, John L. Lewis, Walter Reuther, A. Philip Randolph and Cesar Chavez. Transcript of radio broadcast: 31 August 2008
            MP3 - Download (MP3)
            MP3 - Listen to (MP3)
            RealAudio - Download