‘I will never pay it off’: 42 granted US citizenship in Missoula

Joshua Murdock

More U.S. citizens walked out of Judge Donald Molloy’s federal courtroom in Missoula than walked into it on Thursday.

Across two separate hour-long ceremonies held in the Russell Smith Courthouse downtown, dozens of people became naturalized citizens of the United States of America. They were conferred the right to vote, among others enshrined in the Constitution, and they swore an oath to that foundational American text. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, in letters read aloud by staffers, and Molloy, in spoken remarks, impressed upon their new fellow Americans the gravity of citizenship – not just the rights enjoyed, but also the responsibilities.

In a packed courtroom during the afternoon ceremony, 18 people from 14 nations stood, raised their right hands and repeated aloud the Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America. In public seating benches just beyond the courtroom well, friends and family held cell phones aloft and recorded the moment their loved ones completed the yearslong journey to citizenship. Some made video calls to people who couldn’t attend in person. Parents shushed restless children.

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