Hey, give Joy Reid credit. At least she didn’t go full Hitler analogy . . . On her MSNBC show this morning, Reid claimed that a recently-adopted Texas immigration law sounds “almost like an apartheid-era law.”

To support her alarmist claim, Reid badly mischaracterized the law, suggesting that under it, “any person can be stopped for any reason and asked essentially [to] show their papers.” Her ACLU guest seemingly agreed, saying, “that’s right.” But she added that immigration-status inquiries can be made “once a person is legally detained,” thus debunking Reid’s suggestion that a person could be stopped and asked “for any reason.”


Reid also suggested that a law enforcement officer could be punished for failing to ask the immigration status of someone who has been stopped. In fact, the law does not require police to inquire about immigration status. It simply prevents local agencies from prohibiting law enforcement officers from inquiring about it.

Although the ACLU guest, Astrid Dominguez, was generally more accurate than Reid, she did refer to the statute as the “show-me-your-papers law.” But as this article in The Hill explains:

“It’s not a “show me your papers” law. Unlike Arizona’s S.B. 1070, passed in 2010, Texas’ law does not compel police officers to ask individuals about their immigration status. Although the Texas law stops police departments from banning officers from asking for proof of legal status, it doesn’t include a mandate to compel officers to do so.”

JOY REID: This week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed what may be the most hostile state law targeting undocumented immigrants yet. The law bans so-called sanctuary cities and threatens law-enforcement officials with jail time if they fail to cooperate with federal immigration officials. It also allows police officers to question a person’s immigration status during any stop, including a routine traffic stop.

And joining me now is Astrid Dominguez, immigration rights policy strategist at the ACLU. So Astrid, this sounds very much, sort of almost like an apartheid-era law. Is what this law is saying is that any person can be stopped for any reason and asked, or essentially show their papers?

ASTRID DOMINGUEZ: Hi Joy: that’s right. What this law does is authorizes law-enforcement agencies and sheriffs to inquire about immigration status when a person is legally detained.

REID: And that means that at a traffic, if a police officer does a traffic stop and doesn’t ask, let’s say, and their partner tells on them and says, well, they didn’t ask about this person’s immigration status, what could happen to that police officer?

DOMINGUEZ: This law requires them, well, prohibits local law-enforcement agencies from implementing any policies that will actually prevent them from asking. So local police chiefs and sheriffs lose control of their jails. They cannot prevent any officers from inquiring somebody’s status.

. . .

We know that Greg Abbott’s “show me your papers law” now is trying to target those law enforcement agencies who put community policing first.