Philadelphia Cancels Cinco de Mayo Parade Over Fears of Illegal Immigration Crackdown

Cheryl Sanders
March 20, 2017

The six organizers of Philadelphia's annual El Carnaval de Puebla parade and street party have announced the cancellation of this year's events.

In a statement posted to their Facebook page the next day, they explained that some performers and participants come from around the United States and Mexico and shouldn't take "unnecessary risks" at a time when President Trump has intensified deportation efforts.

And after promising during the 2016 campaign to deport millions of people who were in the country illegally, Trump's administration has proposed hiring thousands of new immigration agents, building a border wall and speeding up removals.

This past week, ICE arrested almost 250 foreign nationals in a two-week span across Pennsylvania, West Virgina and Delaware.

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

But this year, Edgar Ramirez said he and the five other event organizers decided unanimously to cancel the event over fears of a crackdown by federal immigration officials. Everyone is offended by the actions of ICE. "I'm devastated to hear that ICE has had such a chilling effect that Philadelphians no longer feel comfortable engaging in this public celebration", he told the news station.

The festival celebrates the Mexican army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

The event, held in South Philly, has drawn as many as 15,000 people every year for the past decade.

Marchers in the 2012 El Carnaval de Puebla parade.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was disappointed by the development.

Ramirez mentioned concerns among both documented and undocumented immigrants.

Conducting a raid on a public parade to round up illegal immigrants would be a change from ICE's standard procedure.

"ICE's enforcement actions are targeted and lead-driven". "While we can't stop ICE from conducting these raids, I want our immigrant community to know that we want them here, we remain committed to being a 4th Amendment City and protecting these values, and we will do whatever we can to help them feel comfortable bringing this celebration back in the future".

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