Paula Bautista Engellant could barely contain her joy as she became a U.S. citizen on Thursday morning, her smile radiating out across the crowded room inside the Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in Missoula.
“I could cry I’m so happy,” Bautista Engellant said, holding a tiny American flag and hugging her family members and friends.
Originally from the Philippines, she married her husband, David George Engellant, in Billings a few years ago, and he was in the crowd to watch.
Paula Bautista Engellant from the Philippines smiles as she receives a U.S. flag after being sworn in as a new U.S. citizen along with 24 other citizenship candidates from 18 different countries at a naturalization ceremony at the Russell Smith Federal Courthouse in Missoula on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. Judge Kathleen DeSoto presided.
ANTONIO IBARRA OLIVARES, Missoulian
Judge Kathleen DeSoto presided over the naturalization ceremony for 25 people, from far-away places such as Iran, Romania, Brazil and South Africa, who swore lifelong allegiance to the United States of America in their naturalization oath.
Lucia Seymour, originally from Guatemala, also moved to the U.S. to