When eight immigrants arrived at the Baltimore Federal Courthouse to be sworn in as new citizens, they didnít give a thought to the trial next door of five men charged with the bombing of a federal office building.
Baltimore Sun Reporter, Mark Shrader, did care about that trial -- his wife and unborn child had been killed in that explosion -- but in spite of his pleas to cover the case, he was instead ordered to write a Sunday Supplement article on the new citizens.
Then the terrorists escaped their guards and took refuge in the immigrants' courtroom.
Mark Shrader was not upset when he and the immigrants were taken hostage. He had prayed that someday he would have the chance for vengeance on his wifeís killers, even at the price of his own life. Now his chance has come. Feigning sympathy for their politics, Shrader promises the escapees that he will write their story for his paper.
Just before administering the Oath of Allegiance, Judge Hendrix had told the immigrants: In a few moments you will become citizens of the greatest nation on earth. This is still the land of opportunity. This is still the land where dreams can be fulfilled. But at a price.
Now, as he organizes an attack on the killers, Mark Shrader tells the immigrants how high he thinks that price might be. And several of them agree to pay it, not the least of whom is Le Thai Maiís grown son, a rookie Baltimore police officer who, against all orders, has embarked on a desperate plan to break into the courthouse and save his motherís life.