March 23, 2017

Philly's Largest Cinco de Mayo Festival Canceled Over Fear of ICE Raids

20 March 2017, 06:23 | Marion Schneider

Philadelphia Cancels Cinco de Mayo Festivities

Philly Cinco de Mayo celebration canceled over immigration crackdown fears

Every year, as the weather warmed, hundreds of people would transform a lot in south Philadelphia into a frenetic re-enactment of their ancestors' glory: the great battle of May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army defeated French invaders.

Marchers in the 2012 El Carnaval de Puebla parade.

Ramirez described the cancellation as "sad but responsible" in light of a wave of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement detainments and arrests.

Latinos in one of the nation's most diverse cities have canceled a Cinco de Mayo celebration out of fear that the event could see undocumented immigrants rounded up under President Donald Trump's immigration reform policies.

"Everyone is offended by the actions of ICE", Ramirez told NBC10.

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

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Walls, an ICE agent with the Philadelphia office, said ICE follows up leads and its enforcement actions are targeted.

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 fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion peacefully without interference".

The Hill reported that ICE recently announced that 248 people in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia were in federal custody and awaiting deportation.

ICE said it specifically targeted individuals who posed public safety threats and those who violated immigration law, including multiple arrests of those with violent criminal arrests or convictions.

Immigration raids have made national headlines in recent weeks after Trump vowed to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border and immediately deport roughly 8 million undocumented 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", Kenney said in a statement emailed to HuffPost. Ramirez added he and the other organizers did not want anything to happen to anyone, especially to those who travel to Philadelphia from other states.

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