Published: Mon, March 20, 2017
U.S. | By Monique Johnson

Cinco De Mayo Parade Organizers Cancel Celebration Over Fears Of ICE Crackdown

Cinco De Mayo Parade Organizers Cancel Celebration Over Fears Of ICE Crackdown

It appears that, in addition to ensuring attendees aren't targeted, El Carnaval de Puebla wanted to make a political statement about this state of affairs.

The organizers of the biggest Cinco de Mayo festival in Philadelphia have canceled the event this year, citing concerns stemming from immigration reform under President Donald Trump.

Edgar Ramirez, one of the event's organizers, said that the decision was "sad but responsible" in an interview with NBC10 Friday but had to made because of "the severe conditions affecting the immigrant community". In previous years, hundreds of carnavaleros, or marchers, have commemorated the historic battle while parading through south Philadelphia in traditional garb. Everyone is offended by the actions of ICE.

However, an ICE official seemed to try to put fears to rest and told the news station that the agency "does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately".

ICE announced this week alone that 248 people in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia were in federal custody awaiting deportation following two weeks of immigration raids.

Commonly confused with Mexico's Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army held back French invaders.

A spokesperson for Philadelphia's Mexican consulate said it was understandable why the event would be cancelled but urged people to remain acting normally and live their lives as they always do.

The six organizers of the Cinco De Mayo celebration chose to cancel the event unanimously.

ICE agents during Operation Cross Check, an effort to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records, in September, 2011. "They did not feel comfortable holding the event", Ramirez told WCAU.

US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement was quick to say the community had nothing to worry about. "This year we ask you to be well informed".

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the city was committed to protecting its immigrants.

"I'm devastated to hear that ICE has had such a chilling effect that Philadelphians no longer feel comfortable engaging in this public celebration".

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