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Philly cancels its largest Cinco de Mayo celebration amid fears of immigration crackdowns

Philadelphia's largest Cinco de Mayo celebration has been cancelled this year due to fears of a crackdown by federal immigration agents. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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.

The event, El Carnaval de Puebla, is a parade that takes place in south Philadelphia in late April or early May, WCAU-TV reported.

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.

While hundreds of immigrants who are not in the country legally have been detained since President Donald Trump took office, 248 people alone in just Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia are now in federal custody and will be deported following a two-week crackdown by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, according to WCAU.

"Everyone is offended by the actions of ICE. They did not feel comfortable holding the event," Ramirez told WCAU.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) told WCAU that he hopes to bring the carnival back in the future.

"I'm devastated to hear that ICE has had such a chilling effect that Philadelphians can no longer feel comfortable engaging in this public celebration," Kenney said.

Rosalina de los Santos said she has participated in the event for almost eight years and understands why it was canceled this year.

"It's going to be really hard not to do it this year," she said. "For me, it's fine that we're not going to do it this year. I care about our community."

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

In a statement, spokesperson Khalid Walls of Philadelphia's ICE said: "ICE's enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that targets aliens indiscriminately."

According to WCAU, the event has drawn up to 15,000 people who traveled from as far away as Chicago or New England to join in the celebration.

[graphiq id="jeIusgP3ICF" title="Green Cards vs. Criminal Deportations for Immigrants from Mexico" width="600" height="564" url="https://w.graphiq.com/w/jeIusgP3ICF" ]

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