Organizers of El Carnaval de Puebla, an annual Cinco de Mayo celebration in Philadelphia, have decided to cancel this year’s event amid growing paranoia about ICE raids on immigrants and also as a way to protest President Donald Trump’s recent crackdown on illegal immigration.
“We don’t want any incidents. There’s a little bit of fear in the community,” event organizer Edgar Ramirez said, CNN reported. “It’s sad to cancel the event, but we don’t want difficulties for anyone.”
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement responded to the cancellation by saying the community had nothing to worry about.
“ICE’s enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately,” ICE spokesman Khaalid Walls told CNN via email. “U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion peacefully without interference.”
Since taking office, Trump’s administration has arrested nearly 700 illegal immigrants, mostly criminals, in order to deport them, CNN reported.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said he was “devastated to hear that ICE has had such a chilling effect that Philadelphians no longer feel comfortable engaging in this public celebration,” The Washington Post reported. Kenney also said he will do whatever he can to ensure the festival can resume in 2018.
While some on Twitter expressed sadness and sympathy for the cancellation, others were less sympathetic to the plight of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
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