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The longest tenured Dallas Cowboy, at the age of 38, is at last an American citizen.
On Monday, Dallas Cowboys veteran long snapper L.P. Ladouceur was awarded U.S. citizenship.
This is a major deal for those who go through and complete the naturalization process.
The Canadian-born Ladouceur began the process of earning citizenship six-and-a-half years ago. On Monday, in Plano, along with 999 other people from 91 nations, he participated in the ceremony to become a citizen of the United States.
“When you are in that room (for the citizenship ceremony) and there are 1,000 people and there are another 1,000 guests behind us, it’s not very personal,” said Ladouceur, who was born and raised in Montreal and now lives in Aledo.
“But then you see there are 90 countries represented there. And you see where some of these people grew up, whether it’s Syria or maybe some places in Africa. I mean, I’m from Canada, so it’s not that much different, but when you see what people go through to get here, what freedom to them means, it’s very special and a big deal.”
To celebrate, Ladouceur and his wife, Brooke, and their two young children, Annabelle and Wyatt, went to Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth.
Ladouceur came to the U.S. in 2000 on a school visa, and attended college and played football at the University of California. He also had offers to attend and play at Michigan State and Syracuse.
Had football or school not worked out, his plan was to return to Canada and continue his life.
But the New Orleans Saints gave him a shot out of college in 2005, so he had a work visa. After the Saints cut him that year, he signed with Cowboys, when Bill Parcells was the head coach. Ladouceur did the work visa thing for eight years.
In 2012, he married Brooke, and then he went with the green card with the plan to earn U.S. citizenship. Brooke was his sponsor.
Last summer, the process began in earnest, which includes a picture, fingerprints, and a test. He had to prove he could write, read and speak English. He can do the same in French.
Also included is the civics portion of the test with a U.S. government representative. Ladouceur studied from the standard 100 questions; on the actual test itself, he had to correctly answer six of 10.
Another problem - “It’s not multiple choice,” Ladouceur said.
Don’t laugh. There are plenty of American citizens who are born here who would bomb this test.
The questions include, “How many amendments does the Constitution have?” “We elect a Senator for how many years?” “What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?”
“I’d say the emotional part for me in this process was that interview and when I passed the test,” he said. “That was the big day. Once you do that, you know the oath will happen.
“To me there is a sense of accomplishment because I have spent 19 years in this country. I’ve spent half my time on earth here in this country. My wife is American. Our kids are American, and I wanted to be able to complete that. There is pride in that I stuck this out and I got it done and I am an American. I will always be a Canadian at heart but I’m also an American.”
During the ceremony, he and the nearly 1,000 others recited the Pledge of Allegiance, and completed the Oath of Allegiance to officially become citizens of the United States of America.
Now the celebration begins. L.P. ... welcome to jury duty.