We’ve just released the “Year in Hate” issue of the Intelligence Report, showing a staggering 48% jump since 2000 in the number of hate groups that operate in America. That translates into an increase from 602 groups that year to 888 in 2007 — growth almost entirely driven by the poisonous national debate on immigration. That debate has given hate groups an issue with great resonance that they are using successfully to recruit new members.
Already, recently released FBI statistics had suggested that hate crimes against Latinos — crimes that perpetrators typically think they are carrying out against undocumented immigrants — rose 35% between 2003 and 2006. The Report has now found other evidence to support the notion that a rage against immigrants is being successfully used by hate groups: the largest numerical growth of these groups last year came in the three border states of California, Arizona and Texas.
“Hate groups continue to successfully exploit the immigration debate to their advantage, even though the immigration issue has largely disappeared from the presidential debate,” said Mark Potok, editor of the Report, the staff of which writes this blog. “The fact is that they’ve been aided and abetted by mainstream pundits and politicians who give these haters a platform for their propaganda.”
On March 26, Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will join Potok in a live Webcast to discuss the Intelligence Report's findings. To sign up, go here.
The new issue of the Intelligence Report also includes profiles of 20 of the country’s most influential anti-immigrant activists — the latest wave to join the movement (another set of nativist profiles was published in the Report’s Winter 2005 issue). These hardliners, ranging in age from 25 to 81, have advocated everything from forcibly sterilizing Mexican women to mining the U.S.-Mexican border. In the past three years, there have been some 300 anti-immigration groups founded; about half of that number are listed by the SPLC as “nativist extremist” groups. Some of these organizations are also listed as hate groups.
The most prominent name added to the hate group list this year is that of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, a group that has become one of the leading anti-immigration voices in the country but has for years had strong ties to white supremacists and white supremacist ideology.
“FAIR has been taken seriously for years by both the media and the Congress, but it shouldn’t be,” said Potok. “Its officials have repeatedly revealed an anti-Latino and anti-Catholic bias. It has energetically promoted racist conspiracy theories about the immigration situation. And it has ties to white supremacists and hate groups.”
On Sunday, The Washington Post’s “Outlook” section published a set of maps detailing the Report’s findings further. The Associated Press also sent out a national story on the Report’s findings and its criticism of FAIR.
The new issue of the Report lists each of the 888 groups operating in the United States and includes an interactive map showing their names, types and locations.