South Philly's Cinco de Mayo parade canceled over deportation fears

Angie Massey
March 20, 2017

As Voice of American reports, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of Mexico over France in 1862 in the Franco-Mexican War.

"Everyone's pretty much afraid because they're saying that, basically, ICE is just going to come in out of nowhere", resident Florencia Gonzalez told NBC 10 on a quiet, wet street that El Carnaval de Puebla used to fill in late April. But this year, after officers from the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested hundreds of immigrants in recent weeks regardless of their criminal or legal status, organizers said they were anxious attendees wouldn't feel safe.

The organizers of a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Philadelphia have canceled the annual event over fears of an immigration crackdown.

"We have people who travel all the way from Chicago, Connecticut and New York", Edgar Ramirez, one of the organizers of El Carnaval de Puebla, told NBC 10 News of Philadelphia. The parade and surrounding events is one of the largest Latin American events held in Philadelphia. "Everyone is offended by the actions of [the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement]". Sweeps have stoked widespread fear among immigrant communities, despite the fact that officials claim they are conducted indiscriminately. "This year we ask you to be well informed".

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In a statement, spokesperson Khalid Walls of Philadelphia's ICE said: "ICE's enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven".

But many immigrants have been in a state of panic after news of operations such as a nationwide sweep that detained 700 people in one day or the public arrest of a Los Angeles man near his daughter's school. Trump campaigned on a pledge to strengthen enforcement of immigration laws.

This month, ICE agents arrested 248 foreign nationals in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. "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".

Other reports by GizPress

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