The Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, which helped write Oklahoma's anti-illegal-immigration law, was designated a "hate group" Dec. 11 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights law firm.
With that designation, FAIR joined the ranks of the American Nazi Party, the knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the New Black Panther Party as purveyors of hate and bigotry, targeting victims because of race, said Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, investigator Mark Potok.
"(FAIR) accepted over a million dollars from a racist foundation, The Pioneer Fund," Potok said. "We document quite a lot more of the connections of their staff and key leaders to white supremacy and white supremacists. We talk about the racism in their political ads in various campaigns and races."
That Oklahoma's new law targets Hispanics, and that state-level organizers tied to FAIR call Oklahoma's Catholic leaders treasonous, is characteristic behavior of a hate group, Potok said.
State Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, House Bill 1804's author, said he has worked closely with FAIR and did not find the organization to be racist.
"I can tell you that that characterization of FAIR " at least from anyone I've dealt with from FAIR and from everything I know about them " is preposterous," Terrill said. "Why would I be worried about allegations I know to be false from an organization I know to be pushing an opposite agenda?" "Ben Fenwick
Additional Terrill coverage:
Terrill cites law's victory as Hispanics flee state
State rep denies knowledge of organization's financial ties to alleged hate group
Rep. Terrill motivated by racism, says senator