Sunday, April 11, 2010

Immigrant of the Day: Kwame James (Canada/Trinidad)

Kwame James became a U.S. citizen last week, less than 10 years after he helped subdue would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid on a trans-Atlantic flight in December 2001. James was naturalized Thursday at a ceremony in Atlanta.

James is now 32, married with two children, and works in Atlanta. The 6-foot-8 Evansville basketball player was napping when a flight attendant roused him. "Ten rows back, Reid was scuffling with passengers and the crew after he tried to ignite explosives hidden in his shoes. James helped tie up Reid with belts and headset wires, and took turns holding Reid by his ponytail with another passenger until the plane could land in Boston."

James, who was born in Canada and raised in Trinidad, was playing professional basketball in France at the time of the incident. He had been traveling to the U.S. to meet his then-girlfriend and take her to his family's home in Trinidad for the holidays.

James is happy rtto be a U.S. citizen:  "I became a citizen of one of the best countries in the world and I am very happy," he said. "All the things that people come here for, that's what I'm here for, the opportunity. You can come from nothing and become something here, just through hard work."  “ I can't wait to vote in the next election. ”


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