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Saturday, May. 13, 2006 at 11:05 AM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Illegal immigration protesters wrapped up a cross-country caravan on Friday with a rally in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, as immigrant-rights activists chanted for them to "go away."
2006_05_12t135409_450x311_us_usa_immigration_border.jpg, image/jpeg, 379x262
Minutemen, protesters square off at Capitol
By Andy Sullivan1 hour, 35 minutes ago
Illegal immigration protesters wrapped up a cross-country caravan on Friday with a rally in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, as immigrant-rights activists chanted for them to "go away."
Members of the Minuteman Project and other border-patrol groups warned the United States was in danger of being overrun by Mexicans if the Senate passes a bill that would give millions of illegal immigrants a chance to earn citizenship.
"They should be rounded up and deported, every single one of them," John Clark of the American Immigration Control Foundation said to a cheering crowd of about two dozen. "Leave them here and in 10 years this will not be the United States of America."
Fifty yards away a similar number of counter-protesters chanted "Minutemen go away, immigrants are here to stay" behind a line of police.
Millions of Latinos have taken to the streets in massive protests to demand greater civil rights in recent weeks. Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist said such protests underlined the growing threat posed by the estimated 11.5 to 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country.
"They are not assembling to protect their rights. They are assembling to strip us of our rights," Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist and others launched a convoy from Los Angeles on May 3 to push for increased spending and active military involvement on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of thousands of migrants enter the country illegally each year.
Only a handful of vehicles were in the convoy when it left Los Angeles, a number that Gilchrist said swelled to 50 during the cross-country trek.
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