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Fearing Immigration Raid, Hispanic Group Cancels Cinco De Mayo Festival

20 March, 2017, 23:36 | Author: Mae Harvey
  • South Philly's Cinco de Mayo parade canceled over deportation fears

Philadelphia's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration has been canceled this year due to "the severe conditions affecting the immigrant community", according to one of the parade's organizers.

After a raid last month that netted nearly 700 arrests - majority criminals, according to ICE - there were widespread reports of undocumented immigrants keeping their children out of schools and forgoing family nights out.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who has been critical of Trump's immigration policies, lamented the decision to call off the celebration. Last week, ICE announced 248 people were taken into federal custody after two-week raids throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia.

Ramirez said that the Mexican-American community, including both legal and illegal residents, was disheartened by reports of large-scale arrests.

So organizers unanimously chose to cancel. Edgar Ramirez, another of the festival's organizers, said "Everyone was offended by the actions of ICE, and the organizers were not comfortable holding the event this year".

"Everyone's pretty much afraid because they're saying that, basically, ICE is just going to come in out of nowhere", Florencia Gonzalez told WCAU.

Carnaval celebrates the May 5, 1862, Battle of Puebla, at which Mexican forces defeated French invaders.

"ICE officers make extraordinary efforts to keep our communities safe, and this operation is just a small example of what they do every day", Philadelphia Acting Field Office Director Jennifer Ritchey said in a statement.

Costumed revelers dance through the streets of Philadelphia for the Carnaval de Puebla on April 27, 2014.

An ICE official told the station that the agency "does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately". For the past 10 years we have been proud to share with our neighbors our tradition. Agents arrested several undocumented immigrants in the city earlier this month.

"ICE's enforcement actions are targeted and lead-driven".

"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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