This week, students in Newport-Mesa have joined others across Southern California in staging walk-out protests of proposed anti-illegal immigration laws being debated in Washington, D.C. Students from Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools went to Costa Mesa City Hall on Monday. On Tuesday, students from TeWinkle Middle School and Newport Harbor High joined them in peaceful rallies.
Now, this is by no means meant to compare the thousands of Southern California students' actions with those of Thoreau or King and his compatriots. Judging by the comments of some of the students, it's clear some are at least as interested in getting out of class as they are in protesting changes to immigration law. It also is by no means meant to condone students' skipping classes in order to march on City Hall, though it is safe to say that some lessons in life can't be learned in the classroom.
What the protests do show is that the immigration issue, besides dividing the Republican Party in Washington, is no simple slam-dunk for Costa Mesa leaders who are trying to make the city the first in the nation to have local police enforce immigration laws. The students' marching ? not to mention a gathering planned for Saturday that is being organized by the same people who brought together 500,000 in downtown Los Angeles last weekend ? should make it clear that going ahead unilaterally is an unwise and unsound move.
At the very least, Costa Mesa city leaders should realize they do not have the full "sanction and consent of the governed" when it comes to this issue. They would do well to continue seeking that backing.