The seal of one hate group associated with the KKK, based in North Carolina.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) profiles a year of hate groups’ actions in the latest issue of The Intelligence Report, the organization’s quarterly investigative news magazine monitoring the radical right.

In a feature article on the rising influence of the nativist movement, The Report highlights the actions of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Americans for Legal Immigration (ALI-PAC). The group’s leader, William Gheen, 39, left his position as legislative assistant to state Sen. High Webster (R-Alamance) to form the political action committee in April 2005.

According to the article, Gheen was instrumental in derailing a bill that would have granted in-state tuition to “immigrants who had graduated from high school after attending four consecutive years of public school in North Carolina and who supplied a sworn affidavit showing they were in the country legally.” Gheen denounced the bill as “in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.”

Gheen’s group, funded by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (recently named a hate group by SPLC) is just one of many nativist movement organizations popping up across the nation, according to the Center. Those groups are only adding to the rising number of groups declared to have official “hate group” status.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, founded as a small civil rights law firm in 1971, has tracked hate groups and movements across the nation for decades. According to their research, the number of hate groups in the U.S. has risen by as much as 48 percent since 2000, when only 602 hate groups existed nationwide. The 888 tracked hate groups in 2007 represented a five percent increase over the 844 groups in 2006.

“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 Intelligence Report. “The fact is that they’ve been aided and abetted by mainstream pundits and politicians who give these haters a platform for their propaganda.”

ALI-PAC and Gheen are just two of a number of new nativist groups and leaders. According to SPLC, hard-line leaders like Gheen, ranging in age from 25 to 81, and have “advocated everything from forcibly sterilizing Mexican women to mining the U.S.-Mexican border.”

In the past three years, more than 300 anti-immigration groups have been founded. About half of those have been listed as “nativist extremist” groups by SPLC and some are already classified as hate groups.

Between the Carolinas, South Carolina has the higher number of active hate groups. Forty-five exist statewide, including 28 chapters of the League of the South and four chapters of the Council of Conservative Citizens, as well as numerous KKK, White Nationalist, Neo-Nazi and general hate groups. Black separatist groups affiliated with the Nation of Islam operate in Charleston and Columbia.

At present, North Carolina has 28 hate groups statewide, including six League of the South chapters and five Nation of Islam chapters, as well as more than a dozen KKK, Christian Identity and White Nationalist organizations.

3 replies on “Southern Law Center reviews year of hate”

  1. Mr. Billings,

    Please consider changing your article. ALI-PAC is not funded by FAIR and has never received one cent from them. Also, ALI-PAC has not been designated a ‘hate group’.

    Also, I did not leave my job with Senator Webster to form ALIPAC in 2005. ALIPAC was formed in 2004 and I did not leave my job with Sen. Webster till 2006 when I decided to dedicate all of my time to ALIPAC.

    Furthermore, ALIPAC is multi ethnic and all inclusive by design and practice. Over 20% of our supporters are minorities.

    The SPLC lied about our group as we have documented here at this link.

    While we may disagree on issues of immigration, I would hope we could all agree that the truth is important in this debate. I hope that you will not join the SPLC in telling falsehoods to readers.


    William Gheen

  2. Mr. Gheen,

    Thank you for your clarifications in this comment. I encourage you to write a letter to the editor concerning this article, as we simply reported what was already reported by a reputable and trusted source of news and information.

    Please note that our article does not say ALIPAC is a hate group, but that FAIR was “recently named a hate group by SPLC.”

    If you have any substantiating documents to prove your claims, please send them to my office. Our mailing address is on our contact page.

    Thank you,

    Matt Comer
    Editor, Q-Notes

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