Philadelphia's largest Cinco de Mayo parade has been canceled by organizers out of fear that the gathering would be targeted by federal immigration officials searching for illegal immigrants to deport. The annual event was expected to draw about 15,000 people from the Mexican-American community in Philly and surrounding areas.
The decision to cancel is "sad but responsible," said Edgar Ramirez, an organizer of El Carnaval de Puebla. "The group of six organizers decided to cancel unanimously. Everyone is offended by the actions of [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]," he said, referencing recent reports of more active ICE enforcement activity. "We have people who travel all the way from Chicago, Connecticut, and New York," he added. "We don't want anything to happen to them."
A representative of the Mexican consulate in Philadelphia said the cancelation was understandable, but urged Mexican-Americans to maintain a sense of normalcy. "I would understand why people are scared or worried," he said. "But our message is that we are with them. People should try to continue to live their lives as regular as possible, but in a well-informed matter."