The biggest Latin cultural event in Philadelphia has been scrapped due to fear of immigration raids.
For the past ten years, thousands of people would gather for the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration and Festival del Carnaval de Puebla parade in Philadelphia.
This year’s parade has been canceled due to organisers’ fears that the event would expose participants and attendants to a potential immigration raid.
“We do not feel happy about this,” David Pina, president of parade organiser Organizacion San Mateo Carnavalero, told Business Insider.
Pina said participants travel from all over the country to take part in the 15,000-person parade, which typically featured colourful costumes and traditional dances and celebrates people many different Hispanic backgrounds.
Following Donald Trump’s shocking election win and the Trump administration’s recent directives cracking down on undocumented immigrants, the six parade organisers, including Pina, unanimously decided to cancel the celebration.
“We are at a very uncomfortable moment on immigration politics,” Pina said. Many members of Philadelphia’s Mexican community heard rumours that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers would attend the parade to make arrests, Pina added.
“Some people [who come to the parade] are documented, some are not,” said Pina. “We want to keep the community together and safe.”
Pina said that he hopes anti-immigrant sentiment will die down in a year, allowing the Latino community to be able to celebrate its culture openly.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Monday.
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