WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following statement
is being issued by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Today the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a misleading
release announcing a significant increase in the number of hate groups and
hate crimes over the last few years. The release then suggests that our
national debate over immigration reform has fueled the increase in both.
Offering no criteria as to what constitutes a hate group, manipulating the
data for self-serving purposes, and then making broad, unsubstantiated
conclusions, this latest release from the SPLC constitutes one of its most
reckless charges to date. It is calculated to be inflammatory, tarnish the
reputation of leading immigration reform groups, and shut down meaningful
public policy debate about immigration reform.
When examined responsibly, the FBI hate crime data show a dramatically
different story than the one the SPLC portrays. First, in order to suggest
an artificially large increase in the raw number of hate crimes, the SPLC
selects 2003 as its base year, one of lowest years on record for hate
crimes against Hispanics. If one compares the number of hate crimes between
1995 (the earliest report available on the FBI's website) and 2006 (the
most recent statistical year available), one would see that the number of
hate crimes has increased only 17 percent.
But even this is not the whole story. The SPLC conveniently forgets to
index the raw hate crime data with the population, a step always taken by
the FBI to more accurately depict an increase or decrease in crime. Thus,
when one indexes a 17 percent increase in hate crimes against Hispanics
with a 67 percent increase in the Hispanic population between 1995 and
2006, it becomes clear that the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics has
in fact dropped dramatically -- by about 40 percent.
This reduction in the rate of hate crimes against Hispanics is even
more apparent when one considers that the number of law enforcement
agencies that participate in the FBI's hate crime data collection program
increased 33 percent between 1995 and 2006. Between 2003 and 2006 alone,
the number of law enforcement agencies participating in the FBI's hate
crime data collection program increased by over 700.
Finally, the SPLC claims that there has been substantial growth in the
number of "hate groups" since 2000. However, the SPLC provides no
definition of a "hate group" and offers no objective criteria that it uses
to classify organizations as such. The SPLC appears to think that it can
stick this label onto any organization it wishes, including long-standing,
highly-regarded immigration reform organizations such as the Federation for
American Immigration Reform (FAIR) without being challenged as to its
motivations or methodology. FAIR is confident the media and the American
people will see through the SPLC's deceitful tactics.
"There is no level of hate crime that is acceptable -- period," says
Dan Stein, President of FAIR. "However, the SPLC's calculated abuse of the
term 'hate group' and manipulation of hate crime data for self-serving
political interests is an affront to hate crime victims and those who
advocate on their behalf. The SPLC manipulates data to reach deceitful
conclusions, tosses the term 'hate group' at highly-respected organizations
like FAIR, and then mixes the two in an attempt to stop our national debate
over immigration reform. But this is consistent with the SPLC's growing
practice of making allegations with no factual basis, no criteria and
sadly, no one challenging their increasing habit of playing fast and loose
with the facts. Unfortunately, it is the American people who suffer most
through this irresponsible behavior."
Headquartered on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., FAIR is the largest,
oldest and most respected immigration reform group in America. With over
250,000 members, FAIR advocates for non-discriminatory immigration polices
that protect American jobs, wages, the environment, and national security.
As a bipartisan organization free from special interest influence, FAIR is
regularly sought by Congress and the media for its objective analysis and
for its fair, practical and effective policy solutions.
SOURCE Federation for American Immigration Reform