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KKK Capitalizing on Border Crisis to Recruit New Members

A hate-group watchdog says attempts by the Ku Klux Klan to capitalize on anti-immigration sentiment amid an influx of undocumented people at the border won’t likely result in any significant uptick in membership.

The Ku Klux Klan said it has been recruiting in the South in recent months, and over the weekend left fliers on cars in two Atlanta neighborhoods with the message: “Save the land. Join the Klan.” A vice president with the Klan chapter that handed out fliers in Atlanta’s Cabbagetown and Candler Park neighborhoods said they received 25 applications from their drive, and that the “immigration crisis is recruiting members for us.”

The FBI declined to comment about the claim. But the Southern Poverty Law Center said that while militia and other anti-immigration groups are successful at using border issues to bolster ranks, the KKK isn't likely to benefit as much. Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the center, said the Klan was able to use immigration as “opportunistic” propaganda from 2000 to 2008. But since then, the number of KKK chapters has dropped — from 221 in 2010 to 163 in 2013. “Whether we see any overall increase because of the crisis on the border remains to be seen,” Potok said.

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— Erik Ortiz and Kimberly Leoffler