Madam Speaker, each year, people enter the United States to pursue the American dream. The members of the Austin family were determined to live here and become citizens of our great Nation. On March 21, 2007, the community of Kingwood, Texas, will celebrate the fact that the Austin family--Tony, Cheryl, Ryan, and Laura--are now officially citizens of the United States of America.

Cheryl was born in Luanshya, a copper mining town in Zambia in 1951. Tony moved to Luanshya with his parents in 1953. The two met in 1968 at a Lions Club Gala Dance and were married in March 1970.

In 1973, they had two children, Ryan and Lauren. Tony had the opportunity to move his family to the United States because of the company he worked for in South Africa.

Tony was interested in coming to the United States because he often traveled to Houston for business and had the opportunity to spend time in the suburbs. Tony was awestruck by the freedom that American families enjoy as opposed to the situation his family encountered in South Africa with the deteriorating security system. Although they had a great house in a good area, they were imprisoned by the fear of robbery either at home or out on the streets.

The family arrived in Houston in January 1998. They all settled in and again it became clearer how much Ryan and Lauren had been affected by the security situation of South Africa. They were amazed at the freedom they had here.

The family obtained legal permanent resident status in May 2001, by which time they had decided that this was to be their permanent home. They then applied for citizenship in August 2006.

The Austin family is active in the community and each member is a valuable asset to our country. Cheryl has been with Continental Airlines since October 2000 and is now a Senior Recruiter. Tony is a Regional Sales Director with a national training software company. Ryan has his own business, GameForce, in Kingwood Town Center, and Lauren is a junior at the University of Houston Business School.

Although the family has had to make some adjustments, they know it is worth it because of everything they have gained by becoming U.S. citizens. Not only are they model citizens, they are incredibly patriotic and cherish the United States.

I commend the Austin family on their great achievement, congratulate them on being citizens of the great United States, and wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavors.

And that's just the way it is.

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