Performers at ASU protest treatment of 'aliens'
Arizona Republic
April 22, 2008


William Hermann

Arizona State University student Renato Ramos Tuesday dressed up as a ringmaster and joined what he calls a group of like-minded people who are also performance artists to bring attention to a condition he calls "aliens in a cage."

"We want to get people to see what is going on with all the anti-immigration rhetoric that we're hearing these days," said Ramos, 26, as he stood next to a small "cage" he and his friends had put on the ASU Tempe campus mall.

Inside the cage was a young woman sitting beside two dog bowls.
On the wire cage hung slips of paper with "Sheriff Joe Arpaio" and other names written on them - all representing groups or individuals Ramos and his friends consider unfriendly to the cause of undocumented workers.

Student Carlos Garcia, 24, was part of the project on the mall and said the cage symbolized "not just the literal cage that 'illegal aliens' might be put in, but there are many undocumented people at ASU who don't come out about their status and they're in a psychological cage. It's a bad place to be."

About 40 students stopped to listen to Ramos, including Jenna Sperry, 21, of Gilbert.

"I understand that this is a problem, but also, there's a problem in driving up insurance costs - like getting in a wreck with an undocumented person with no insurance."

Theater Professor David Coffman also stopped by and dropped some change on a table set up beside the cage.

"I support any free expression of ideas," Coffman said. "There are students at ASU who through no fault of their own are undocumented and are suffering from other people's political posturing. We've had students stop coming to school because of that."