Study: No hate groups in New Mexico despite ACLU-reported uptick in hate crimes

New Mexico

A new study shows the number of hate groups found across the U.S. in the last year is up. New Mexico stands out, but not in the way you may think.

“We’re taking a zero tolerance sort of approach,” said Peter Simonson, Executive Director of ACLU of New Mexico. “It also rationalizes those thoughts in the minds of everyday people who may have those kinds of racial animosity festering inside them so it’s not that surprising
to these kinds of issues.”

The American Civil Liberties Union says it’s become a growing trend, more and more hate crimes are being reported across the nation, including here in New Mexico.

Recently, Southern Poverty Law Center, a national civil rights group, released a map showing how many hate groups they tracked last year.

From the West Coast California, showing 83 hate groups, to the East Coast, with states like North Carolina listing 40. However, New Mexico is showing zero hate groups. The ACLU says we still see our fair share of hate crimes in the state though.

“Even while we haven’t seen formal, organized hate groups, it’s pretty clear to us that we are seeing an increase in racially-motivated civil rights abuses,” said Simonson.

The ACLU says they’ve seen an increase in the number of racially-motivated civil rights incidents including racial epithets used toward African American customers at local stores and even a southeastern New Mexico store posting signs saying it won’t serve Muslims — signs later taken down after a civil rights group got involved.

The ACLU says with the rise in these types of incidents, they’re now putting more emphasis on discrimination complaints.

While they don’t know why this is happening, they believe the president’s rhetoric may be a factor.

“When you have the Commander in Chief explicitly endorsing those kinds of ideas, it’s not surprising that you will see groups, Nazi groups. white supremacy groups, white nationalists groups try to take advantage of that,” said Simonson.

According to the map, the number of hate groups listed on the U.S. map in 2018 exceeded 1,000.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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