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Former AZ Senate president and SB 1070 sponsor Russell Pearce dies

A sheriff’s deputy turned state lawmaker who was the architect of one of Arizona’s most concerted modern-day crackdowns on undocumented immigrants died Thursday. Russell Pearce was 75.

The main sponsor of Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, the former Senate president became the face of a socially conservative brand of politics that was synonymous with Arizona during the early 21st century. That distinction also led to his ouster from office, and he was the first state lawmaker recalled in Arizona’s history.

At the same time that America elected its first Black president, Pearce pushed for stricter laws on immigration, marriage and more, standing athwart the country’s course and seeking to cast the United States ― or at least Arizona ― in the image of his sliver of the East Valley. 

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