The Arizona Senate yesterday passed a strict immigration law that was written by fringe conservatives. State Rep. Bill Konopnicki, who was too afraid to vote against the bill, said: "We are going to look like Alabama in the '60s."

The new law, which is expected to be signed shortly by the governor, was written by Russell Pearce, a "firebrand" conservative with a checkered past. He is also friends with asshole Ted Nugent! From the New York Times:

The state senator who wrote the law, Russell Pearce, had long been considered a politically incorrect embarrassment by more moderate members of his party - often to the delight of his supporters. There was the time in 2007 when he appeared in a widely circulated photograph with a man who was a featured speaker at a neo-Nazi conference. (Mr. Pearce said later he did not know of the man's affiliation with the group.)

In 2006, he came under fire for speaking admirably of a 1950s federal deportation program called Operation Wetback, and for sending an e-mail message to supporters that included an attachment - inadvertently, he said - from a white supremacist group.

Right-wing Tea Party rage has Republicans in Arizona, like Senator John McCain and the governor, fearing for their jobs, which in turn has them supporting legislation they would normally oppose (McCain's past stance on immigration can be read here). Moderate Republican State Rep. Bill Konopnicki said "everybody was afraid to vote no on immigration." The new law, which is seen as the toughest in the country, demands that police in Arizona request papers from any brown people they see. Some opponents compare the new legislation to the Jim Crow laws. Nice work, Arizona!

[Image via AP]