Luke Waters, ex-top homicide detective in New York and a Dublin native, will give you a different perspective on undocumented immigration.
Even The New York Times recognizes that. As reviewer Sam Roberts wrote about Waters’ new book, 'NYPD Green: An Irish-Born Detective’s Twenty Years on the Mean Streets of New York,' “Luke Waters will make you think twice about illegal immigrants.”
Roberts continues, “In 'NYPD Green,' Mr. Waters, a first-time author who arrived in the city in the 1980s and overstayed his visa, takes readers on an inspiring, inside tour of the human toll, and the satisfactions, of becoming a cop.
“Instead of following his grandfather and brother into An Garda Siochana (the police force in his native Dublin), Mr. Waters worked his way up from New York rookie cop to homicide detective, retiring after two decades.
“I put about a thousand lawbreakers behind bars in my time carrying a badge,” he writes, “and although I made plenty of mistakes, I never took a dime I wasn’t entitled to, never set a perp up for a crime he did not commit. Not once did I have to pull the trigger off the range.”
Now isn’t that the kind of immigrant we need and should not seek to block? Alas, Waters, who later joined an FBI led task force against Mexican drug lords, got no break or extra recognition at all.
Despite his bravery and outstanding record, it took years for Waters to become legal. It was somewhat ironic that he was later made a federal agent in a huge drugs case in order to have him work in tandem with the FBI.
A wild drug war between gangs brought him to Puerto Rico and eventually back to New York where, in a huge operation, the most wanted drug dealer in the country, Leit Fernandini, who had supplied the whole Bronx, was captured by Waters and his fellow feds and cops.
Waters is telling his story now and it has met with great interest. Simon and Schuster has published his book in America while the movie rights are currently being negotiated. Who will play him?
“Danny DeVito,” laughs the strapping 6-footer during a recent chat.
For a kid from Dublin’s tough Northside, Waters has come a long way. Yet he continues to think about others.
He is especially exercised by the lack of Irish now joining the NYPD, pointing out last year was the first time in living memory no Irish-born person applied.
While the city's ethnic makeup has changed, something Waters acknowledges, he still says the Irish with their ability to communicate, calm people down, use their charm can get to the bottom of a case much more quickly than anyone.
He especially regrets that immigration from Ireland no longer occurs in any great numbers and says America is much the poorer for it.
These days Luke Waters has learned to trust himself and his ability to get things done which is why he wants to fight for immigration reform even as the political landscape looks bleak.
But how could it be any bleaker than what he faced when he came to America, overstayed his visa and became undocumented, yet somehow fashioned an amazing career as top cop and now best-selling writer?
As he says himself, “When the punches, bullets or recriminations start to fly keep smiling and stand your ground.
“But don’t forget to duck.”
Luke Waters, homicide detective, federal agent, best selling author, is an original.