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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Number of Hate Groups in the U.S. Increases in 2008

March 2, 2009 - Posted by Tyler Lewis

Intelligence Report cover with images of hate group participants and the worlds

The number of hate groups in the United States increased to 926 in 2008, up 54 percent since 2000, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) latest "Intelligence Report."

A "hate group" is an organization that promotes hate or violence towards members of an entire class of people, based on characteristics such as race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

According to the report, the number of hate groups continues to grow because of the recession, the election of President Obama, and fears of Latino immigration. 

"The idea of a black man in the White House, combined with the deepening economic crisis and continuing high levels of Latino immigration, has given white supremacists a real platform on which to recruit," said Mark Potok, the report's editor and staff director of SPLC's Intelligence Project, which monitors hate groups in the U.S.

Hate crimes against Latinos have been increasing since 2003, but African Americans are still the largest group of hate crime victims, according to the latest FBI data.  The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act, which has not been introduced in this session of Congress yet, would provide local authorities with more resources to combat hate crimes and give federal government jurisdiction over processing hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate.

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