Jul 14, 2022 - Politics & Policy

First look: RNC prepares immigrants for naturalization tests

Illustration of a passport surrounded by geometric shapes and lines.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Republican Party is launching a program to help immigrants — and prospective voters — prepare for the civics portion of the naturalization test.

Why it matters: It's a part of a concerted move by the Republican Party to reach out to immigrants and build a multiracial coalition of working-class voters — a particularly notable move for a party that had a singular focus on restricting immigration under former President Trump.

Driving the news: The first of the Republican Civics Initiative's 10-hour training courses will be held on Thursday in Doral, Florida, at the RNC Hispanic Community Center.

  • Attendees would learn basic U.S. civics and history based on questions that could appear on the civics portion of the naturalization test like "When was the Declaration of Independence signed?" and "How many branches of government are there?"
  • The program would use training materials adapted from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) civics curriculum and involve Republican National Committee staff who are certified USCIS instructors.

What's next: Additional training will be held in RNC community centers in states like Texas, Georgia, Nevada, California and Pennsylvania.

What they're saying: "The RNC is growing our Party through purposeful education and engagement," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement shared with Axios.

  • "Our commitment to provide opportunities for all to live out the American dream is broadening our base because our ideas transcend all backgrounds," McDaniel added.

The big picture: The RNC has spent millions of dollars on more than 30 minority community centers, including the 12 Hispanic centers in addition to a handful of Black, Asian Pacific American, Jewish and Native American community centers across the country.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Astrid Galván: Grassroots groups backed by the Democratic Party have long held citizenship drives, and they ramped up efforts when Trump was elected.

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