Back in January, New York Times reporter Julia Preston managed to squeeze a 780-word story 
out of a teeny-tiny protest: A grand total of four students marching
from Miami to Washington, D.C. in the name of amnesty for illegal
immigrant students. By contrast, a massive anti-Obama rally that
attracted over 100,000 people to the Capitol on September 12, 2009
resulted in virtually the same level of print coverage: A 932-word
On Tuesday Preston struck again, finding a grand total
of five immigrant students waging a sit-in at Sen. John McCain's office
in Arizona worth a full story Tuesday: "Illegal Immigrant Students Protest at McCain Office ."
A medium-sized photo of the squatting students ran above the article
about the "escalation of protest tactics" (from four to five
In an escalation of protest tactics, five immigrants dressed in caps and gowns held a sit-in on Monday at the Tucson offices of Senator John McCain, calling on him to sponsor legislation to open a path to legal status for young illegal immigrants.
Four of the protesters, including three who are in the country illegally, were arrested Monday evening on misdemeanor trespassing charges. The three were expected to face deportation proceedings.
It was the first time students have directly risked deportation in an effort to prompt Congress to take up a bill that would benefit illegal immigrant youths.
Preston referred to her previous reporting on the Miami march of four:
Illegal immigrant students have become increasingly public in their protests in recent months, as the prospects for an immigration overhaul faded in Washington. Four immigrant students walked from Miami to Washington, arriving in late April. So far, immigration authorities have not moved to detain student protesters.
Clay Waters is editor of Times Watch .