Yesterday the Minutemen kicked off their 20 city cross country carivan in Phoenix with a rally. Searching for the story in Today's Arizona Repupublic the story of this event was nowhere to be found.

I looked at the alternative Phoenix paper, the East Valley Tribune and found the story there.

Minuteman Project member Gayle Nyberg of Riverside, Calif., and Jim Pinkerman of Mesa are traveling with the Minuteman caravan on its way to Washington, D.C. The caravan stopped Wednesday night at the state Capitol in Phoenix.

Julio Jimenez Tribune

Minuteman Project caravan stops in Valley
By Dennis Welch, Tribune
May 4, 2006
Leaders of the Minuteman Project swept through the Valley on Wednesday in what was the first stop on a nationwide tour aimed at pressuring the federal government to get tough on illegal immigration.

Organizers of the event kicked off their trip earlier in the day in Los Angeles and will spend the next week and a half traveling to 12 cities in the southern half of the country before ending up in Washington, D.C.

The anti-illegal immigration group hopes to gather enough signatures from supporters along the route to persuade Congress to seal off the U.S.-Mexico border before lawmakers there are expected to pass an immigration bill later this month.

Members of the 14-vehicle Johnny Appleseed Caravan were greeted at about 7:30 p.m. by nearly 150 enthusiastic American flag-waving supporters in front of the state Capitol in downtown Phoenix.

Jim Gilcrest, the founder of the Minuteman Project, said the tour was a response to the recent nationwide protests demanding that millions of illegal immigrants living in the country be given a path toward citizenship.

“We need to stop this continuing invasion of America by people who have no intention of becoming a U.S. citizen,” he said to cheers of those around him.

Gilcrest said he and his organization oppose any plan that gives amnesty to illegal immigrants. He also said illegal immigrants should be forced to return to their home countries before applying for U.S. citizenship.

The demonstration Wednesday was considerably smaller than the rallies that drew tens of thousands of proimmigrant supporters into the streets of Phoenix last month. However, those who attended said they were pleased with the turnout.

Many were members of the Arizona Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a group closely related to the Gilcrest and the Minuteman Project. They said they were representing the silent majority of Arizona citizens who are too busy working or raising families to attend the political rally.

“I wish there were 10,000 more people here, but this is a good start,” said Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who has become one of the country’s leading supporters of stricter immigration policy.

During the current legislative session, Pearce has introduced more than a dozen bills dealing with immigration. Those bills range from building a wall along to the border to cracking down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

“If you take away the jobs, they’ll deport themselves,” Pearce said.

Political activist JT Ready, who failed to win a seat on the Mesa City Council earlier this year, seized the moment to address the crowd. As president of Americans First, another anti-illegal immigration group, Ready urged everyone to gather in front of the Mexican consulate Saturday in Phoenix as part of a national protest.

“We’re not against other countries, but we need to start putting Americans first,” he said to loud cheers.