Immigrants with disabilities in California may face special challenges along the road to citizenship. For example, one blind man said that he failed his test to become a U.S. citizen because he was not provided with a Braille test, despite his request for one. The official reason given for his failure on the test was that he was unable to read an English sentence, but he notes that he relies on Braille for reading due to his blindness. He converses verbally in English and studied for his test with verbal questions and answers.
However, despite the fact that he uses a white cane to navigate, when he asked for a Braille version of the test, his request was denied. He was ordered to get a doctor’s note to receive accommodations. However, the man is uninsured, and a doctor’s visit was out of his budget. He was offered a large-print sentence to read, but he was unable to do so due to his blindness, which he has had since birth. In the months following the man’s citizenship test, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that they had begun to offer Braille tests routinely to applicants who request them.
The man said that he and his immigration lawyer had been contacted to set up a new date for his naturalization examination and that, this time, he would be allowed to receive the Braille exam that he needed. He has already successfully completed the verbal portion of the citizenship test, but the written portion posed an extra challenge.
There are a number of challenges that people with disabilities may face when navigating the immigration system, from tests and systems that are not accessible to health documentation requirements that may be costly or onerous. An immigration law attorney may assist people in working through the citizenship and naturalization process.