GREAT FALLS – Montana residents welcomed the latest class to receive United States citizenship as 24 people from more than a dozen countries partook in the Naturalization Ceremony in Great Falls on Thursday morning at the Missouri River Federal Courthouse.
“It has been one of the most exciting days in my life,” said Tamara McCarty, a new U.S. citizen from Jamaica.
U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Great Falls Mayor Bob Kelly, along with representatives for U.S. Senator Jon Tester and U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke, welcomed the newest citizens to the country and the state.
“We are a nation of immigrants,my great-great grandmother homesteaded north of Great Falls, she came from Norway and I just so much appreciate the patriotism, you saw those new US citizens waiving their American flags, you saw their children waiving the American flags, it was just one of those special moments that you get to do in public service to be a part of this special day,” said Senator Steve Daines.
While some describe the process as lengthy and daunting, these new Americans say the benefits far outweigh the challenges, including the ability to qualify for college scholarships and grants, being eligible for federal employment or benefits, along with the ability to participate in US politics.
“It feels very good and especially being a voting year was a little bit of an incentive too, to finally get in gear and get things taken care of,” said Carolyn Anderson, a new U.S. citizen from Canada.
New citizens say they are grateful for the kindness and support they have felt from family, friends, and community leaders in Montana throughout the application process.
Representatives with ‘Montana Women Vote’, a movement made up of area women’s non-profit organizations, were outside the Naturalization Ceremony helping new citizens register to vote.
For a list of citizenship benefits, click here: https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/article/chapter2.pdf .
For a list of citizenship preparation classes in Montana, click here: https://my.uscis.gov/findaclass .
For more information on ‘Montana Women Vote’, click here: http://www.montanawomenvote.org/ .