Russell Pearce is the smiling face of S.B. 1070. The Arizona State Senator has reveled in the limelight since the racist bill was signed last month. He earns his living bashing immigrants and is a hero for the anti-immigrant movement in Arizona. Pearce’s history, however, is far from cheerful; it involves Nazis, domestic violence and xenophobia.
Pearce is a member of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, a coalition of anti-immigrant state-elected officials. As a partner of the John Tanton Network, a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations
Orchestrated by John Tanton, State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI) serves as the local legislative arm of the network. Pearce has many more connections to the Tanton Network. He was the chief sponsor of the racist S.B. 1070 bill in Arizona. The bill was drafted by Kris Kobach of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) the legal arm of the Tanton Network. Pearce recently spoke at a membership meeting of the Texans for Immigration Reform, a group listed on FAIR’s website as a state contact.
Pearce has been accused of violence and apparently enjoys the company of other violent people, including neo-Nazis. According to his 1980 dissolution of marriage petition, Pearce allegedly, “is possessed with a violent temper, and has from time to time hit and shoved his wife, the last time being on February 3rd, when he grabbed the wife by the throat and threw her down.” Pearce’s wife didn’t end up divorcing him however, and they are still married to this day. This is a picture of Pearce in 2007 with a man named J.T. Ready. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, J.T. Ready is an outright neo-Nazi who wrote the following on a white nationalist message board in December 2007,
“The truth is that negroids screw monkeys and rape babies in afreaka [sic]. Then stupid white man who licks kosher jew rear lets negroids in. … Stop Negroid immigration and integration now!!! Nature will take care of the rest.”
Pearce’s connections to neo-Nazis don’t stop with J.T. Ready. In 2006, he forwarded an email to his supporters from a neo-Nazi group. The email contained an article that, “criticized the media for promoting multiculturalism and racial equality, and for presenting the Holocaust as fact.”
Shockingly, the connections to neo-Nazis don’t even stop there! On June 5th Pearce will be speaking at an anti-immigrant rally in Phoenix. The rally is being organized by a man named Daniel Smeriglio who has participated in anti-immigrant rallies in his home state of Pennsylvania with former neo-Nazi Steve Smith. Smith belonged to the same neo-Nazi group, the National Alliance, which Russell Pearce passed on to his supporters via email in 2006.
Looking at his history, it’s no surprise that Pearce happily takes credit for a racist law. The question remains, what other evil plans does he have in store for Arizona?