Illegal Immigration Fueling Increase In Klan Membership

Organizations that track hate groups and officials of the groups themselves say fears over illegal immigration are fueling a resurgence in membership to the Ku Klux Klan.

The imperial wizard of the Mount Holly-based chapter of the Klan says membership is growing faster in Gaston County than he's seen since joining in the 1960s. Virgil Griffin says while the Klan isn't as strong now as it was in the 1960s, he's hoping the group will get there.

The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center says that from 2000 to 2005, the number of hate groups grew 33 percent in the United States while Klan chapters grew by 63 percent. The center also says North Carolina has grown from 27 to 35 extremist groups, including eight Klan chapters, in the past five years.

Charlotte's F-B-I bureau reports sporadic rises in Klan activity in recent years but nothing significant.