27 Immigrants Nationalized in Missoula - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

27 Immigrants Nationalized in Missoula

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MISSOULA -

Twenty-seven immigrants from 16 different countries were sworn in as new U.S. citizens this morning, during a ceremony at the Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in Missoula.

Foreign citizens or nationals go through a rigorous process before gaining citizenship, called "naturalization."

Those seeking citizenship must take an English speaking, reading and writing test and a civics test.

Melissa Payne is originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, and said she's wanted to be an American citizen ever since she crossed the border as a teenager.

"Mostly for my kids, it's a great country, a lot of freedom, and my children, my husband is related, distantly, to members of the Constitution, so my children now have the opportunity to things like the Daughters of the Revolution and Children of the American Revolution," Payne said.

After naturalization, foreign-born citizens enjoy nearly all the same benefits, rights and responsibilities as native-born U.S. citizens, including the right to vote.  

During the 2012 fiscal year, about 763,000 immigrants were naturalized nationwide, with 325 in Montana.

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