Cesar Millan (center) with his wife Ilusion and their two sons
Ray Mickshaw/National Geographic Channel
03/12/2009 AT 06:00 PM EDT
He's famous for turning ferocious pit bulls into family pets, rehabilitating neurotic pooches and training their owners to become pack leaders. Now Cesar Millan (aka television's Dog Whisperer
) can add another accomplishment to his roster: becoming a U.S. citizen.
Millan, 39, attended a swearing-in ceremony Thursday in Montebello, Calif., east of Los Angeles. Millan, who passed his citizenship test earlier this year, was cheered on by his wife Ilusion and sons Andre, 14, and Calvin, 10, all of whom are citizens.
"This is the ultimate culmination of living the American dream," Millan said in a statement. "Becoming an U.S. citizen has been a goal of mine since I first came to this great country. I have much to thank this country for, and all of the success it has afforded me and my family, and now I am proud to be a citizen."
Millan was born in Mexico and crossed the border illegally as a young man. He rose to fame working with celebrity clients including Jada Pinkett and Will Smith
and Oprah Winfrey
, and became a legal resident in 2000.
Millan now presides over an empire
that includes the Emmy-nominated Dog Whisperer
series, three best-selling books and a non-profit foundation
for abused and abandoned dogs.