On Wednesday, a federal magistrate in Alabama recommended the dismissal of a separate lawsuit that accused the law center of defaming a Florida-based evangelical ministry by designating it as a hate group. However, SPLC acknowledged that its report likely failed to capture the full extent of hate-group activity. Within that category, neo-Nazis saw the most growth over the past year, from 99 to 121 groups.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report Wednesday that its count of Klan groups fell from 130 in 2016 to 72 previous year.
The center also points blame at President Donald Trump for the backlash from the Nation of Islam, who view the President as a symbol of the rising white supremacist movement. They increased from 101 chapters to 114 in 2017 - growth that comes after the groups tripled in number a year earlier.
"The presence of those organizations in that area is notable", said Ryan Lenz, senior investigative reporter for the SPLC. But since then, Beirich says, the spread of the alt-right has cut into Klan recruitment.
Black nationalist hate groups have seen the largest increase, from 193 organizations in 2016 to 233 groups in 2017.
"Klansmen showed up at Charlottesville and tried to glom on to the hipper part of the movement", Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, said.
White supremacist groups ramped up their recruiting of college students. "Trump has brought them into the political system in a way that hasn't happened in decades", Beirich said.
"Domestic terrorism committed by white supremacists ... continues to be a problem", Beirich said, alluding to a string of far-right attacks that resulted in deaths past year.
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Typified by their anti-Semitic, anti-LGBT, anti-white rhetoric and conspiracy theories, these black nationalist groups should not be confused with activist groups such as Black Lives Matter and others that work for civil rights and to eliminate systemic racism.
"We're not going to change our definitions on this front because of this pushback", Beirich said.
Like numerous people who commit acts of mass violence, Cruz also had a history of misogynistic behavior and violence against women. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Over the past year-and-a-half, Beirich said, the two groups have migrated from the largely online world of so-called men's rights forums and blogs to having in-person meetings. That number had fallen to 784 in 2014. This past year, the nonprofit replicated the analysis and found that 23% of the posts related to Trump. Two groups are listed.
In the Philadelphia region, the Shoebat Foundation in Newtown, Bucks County and Micetrap Distribution in Maple Shade, Burlington County also remained active in 2017. The SPLC documented some 300 incidents of racist flyers being distributed on more than 200 campuses.
The law center counted more than 600 groups that "adhere to some form of white supremacist ideology".
The report identified 689 groups associated with the anti-government "Patriot" movement, with about 40 percent of them armed militias. At the same time the number of Ku Klux Klan groups dropped significantly.
The report's authors found that the total number KKK chapters in the United States dwindled to 72 in 2017, down from from 130 in 2016. "It's just extremely old-school and I think, honestly, weird to them".
Beirich attributed the decrease in KKK chapters to the growing appeal of the alt-right, a loosely knit coalition of white supremacists, white nationalists and neo-Nazis who advocate a white ethnostate.