Philadelphia Cinco de Mayo Celebration Cancelled Amid Fear of Immigration Raids

An event organizer called it “sad but responsible” to cancel Philadelphia’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration.


A popular Cinco de Mayo festival in Philadelphia has been cancelled due to increasing fears of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.

El Carnaval de Puebla has taken place in South Philadelphia in late April or early May for the past 10 years and is the city’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration. But according to event organizer Edgar Ramirez, the decision to cancel the festivities was “sad but responsible.”

“The group of six organizers decided to cancel unanimously,” Ramirez told NBC10. “Everyone is offended by the actions of ICE. They did not feel comfortable holding the event.”

The event garners as many as 15,000 people annually from all parts of the country, and the choice to cancel the festival was made to keep these people safe, according to Ramirez.

“We have people who travel all the way from Chicago, Connecticut and New York,” he said. “We don’t want anything to happen to them.”

David Piña, a founder of the Carnaval, said to Al Día News that cancelling the event is also “to raise a voice of protest” in response to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies.

Carnaval de Puebla en Philadelphia announced the cancellation in a Facebook post, stating (translated from Spanish), “Today we just want solidarity because together we will come through these uncertain times.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) said, “I’m devastated to hear that ICE has had such a chilling effect that Philadelphians no longer feel comfortable engaging in this public celebration.”

Florencia Gonzalez, a South Philly resident, said to NBC10, “Everyone’s pretty much afraid because they’re saying that, basically, ICE is just gonna come out of nowhere.”

A spokesman for ICE Philadelphia rejected that notion, saying in a statement, “ICE’s enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven. ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”

ICE announced on March 14 that 248 people had been arrested over a two-week period in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware during raids.

“ICE will continue to conduct targeted enforcement operations, whether local jurisdictions intend to cooperate with ICE or not,” ERO Philadelphia Acting Field Office Director Jennifer Ritchey said.

For his part, President Donald Trump last year on Cinco de Mayo (at which time he was the presumptive Republican nominee) made what Latino community leaders considered a demeaning post on Twitter. He posted a picture of himself happily eating a “taco bowl” to commemorate the day. The caption reads, “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”

Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s Battle of Puebla against France, which ended in victory for the Mexican army. In the U.S., it’s usually celebrated with happy hours and food and drink specials and is often mistaken for Mexican Independence Day. Not only did Trump refer to it as a Hispanic holiday rather than Mexican, he ate a “taco bowl,” otherwise known as a taco salad, which actually originated in Texas.

Sanctuary City

Philadelphia is considered a sanctuary city. “Sanctuary cities” is a broad term used to described areas that, in general, do not unlawfully hold immigrants simply at the request of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), unless he or she has been charged with a serious crime.

In January PolitiFact investigated a statement made by Joe DeFelice, Philadelphia’s GOP chairman, saying that the city’s sanctuary status is endangering residents.

“From the release of a child rapist from the Dominican Republican (sic) to that of an Italian drug smuggler, Philadelphians have already been put in direct danger by Mayor Kenney’s policy of blocking local law enforcement from participating with federal immigration authorities,” DeFelice reportedly said in an email.

The statement was referring to two immigrants charged with sexual assault and drug crimes, respectively.

But a spokeswoman for Mayor Kenney said the opposite is in fact true: “Philadelphia’s crime rate is at a 40-year-low at the same time our immigrant growth is on the rise. This drop in crime is due in no small part to the fact that our immigration policy has strengthened trust between communities and police.”

According to PolitiFact, “The notion that sanctuary policies are safer is supported in research. According to a Center for American Progress report published late last week, sanctuary counties have lower crime rates. As we explained in an earlier report, looking at sanctuary policies alone wouldn’t account for other factors that could be influencing crime rates, but the CAP’s report compared nearly 2,500 counties, based on ICE’s designations.”

Late last month Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said that mayors and politicians who represent sanctuary cities should be prosecuted. He emphasized specifically holding those mayors accountable as a way to deter others: “I’m telling you right now folks: You charge one mayor, one governor, one council president … this stuff is going to end right away.”

Other sanctuary cities include Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott cut $1.5 million in grant money to Travis County, which includes sanctuary city Austin, after the county sheriff said she would limit her department’s cooperation with federal immigration officers.

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  • It seems like its only a problem if you are here illegally. What part of illegal do people not understand?

    • Good question. The part most people don’t understand is the collusion between congress and federal law enforcement which created a multimillion person labor market, over several decades, which could be exploited because it wasn’t legal. No American business owner has gone to prison for employing undocumented workers.

      No, compounding the crime our society has perpetuated on people here to feed their family – working without legal labor protections, for decades, we are allowing politicians to make the victim the enemy.

      Another thing most people do not understand is how the sociopaths in the Republican party have leveraged this population for political gain, fomenting hate among ignorant people towards this group, much like the Nazis fomented hate against the Jews to serve their consolidatation of power.

      As I write this, the president’s ties to the Russians and their involvement in subverting our election are being explained to Congress. It should give anyone pause to think that “a wall” or a “Muslim ban” is integral to our security. The true threat is a leader who leverages hate to pursue power – including potentially enjoing the support and assistance of the world’s greatest thug, Vladimir Putin.

      • I know of no republicans who have burned alive or gassed illegal immigrants .
        So why are they Nazi like?
        Isn’t it possible that they would just like U.S. laws to be enforced.

        • Follow my analogy. Hitler blamed the Jews for Germany losing WWI and the failed Weimar republic economy to gain political opportunity and be elected chancellor. Trump blames Muslims and Mexicans for our problems in the US. It’s a clear and relevant analogy.

      • Thank you Luke Visconti. I always enjoy reading your comments and admire your insights.

      • So As I write this James Comey is saying there is no evidence that Russia hacked or undermined the election. He indicated that Russia has always been active in past elections. At most, unhappy Dem operatives leaked info that was being kept from American public. When this was made know did it have an impact on the election? Yes it did. It allowed Americans to make their voting decisions on who Hillary and the Dems really are. They chose Trump. As far as employers hiring illegals, companies are fined all the time for this. The real problem is not companies not checking for I-9 documents, its people stealing identities and submitting false documents.

    • You might want to follow the news more closely. Native-born Americans, as well as people already here — or attempting to come here — legally, have been caught up in this anti-immigrant hysteria and detained and threatened with deportation in indiscriminate raids by the authorities. So, no, it’s not just people “here illegally.”

    • Apparently many people don’t understand the term “illegal” and what it means, by assuming that any brown person is not a citizen. These assumptions can have murderous results, ask the family of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. The WaPo reported a story describing a server in a restaurant who requested the IDs of Hispanic citizens to make sure they were allowed to be in the USA!

      The organizers in Philly made a good call; its not just ICE they need to worry about, but our own citizens. Shameful.

      • I made no such assertion. I stated that only people who are here illegally should fear ICE.

        • Evil parsed is still evil. The atmosphere of fear is what is being cultivated, as is bullying as being somehow “patriotic”.

          It’s disgusting. Beneath contempt.

          • You Mean bullying like the Lefty that attacked Michal Savage? No hate there.

          • Even with one good arm and one good leg, I’d kick his fat blowhard ass myself if I had the chance. Look up “irresistible impulse”. He’d have to explain to the police how he got a swirly from a crippled guy. My long retired Marine Corps drill instructor might not approve, but he’d pat my back for a proper beat down.

  • GOOD! If they want to celebrate Mexico so badly, they can do it in Mexico.

  • Thank you Pres. Trump. Hey I.C.E. dodgers, learn some English and try to assimilate in OUR country.
    I am tired of paying for your food stamps. Bids are goin out for the wall. About time. Trump keeping promises.

    • Good to hear from the core of the Trump Party.

      You’re going to get what you’re asking for. Most people receiving food stamps are white. The latest revision to Trumpcare still screws the daylights out of older white people. The work requirement is especially fun. All those white people, jobs protected by segregation until their skills became obsolete are going to have fistfights in the K-Mart parking lot applying for the jobs they’re qualified to do as their spouse lies dying from a treatable disease at home. But you’ll feel good knowing we spent billions on a wall – not thinking that most undocumented are coming from Asia and the wall is just a symbol of how stupid white people are always ready to screw themselves when the flim-flam man whips up the hate.

      Maybe your mom can get a job washing dishes at Mar-a-Loco so she can qualify for healthcare. Ooops, nope, the president hires H1B workers (foreigners) to do that. But there’ll be a full employment/presidential troubles distraction plan. It’s called a war. Your children will be ground into bloody mush to serve the puerile military fantasies of a draft dodger. Have fun sucker.

      • We need to get people of all colors off food stamps. There is no reason to be on them for more than a short period of time. Unfortunately, the Bridge debit cards have taken away the negative stigma. We are not a welfare state and people need to be accountable.

          • The culture of taking from the government and living on food stamps has to stop. People will not starve. Again that is just emotional hyperbole.

          • People have been taking for as long as there have been people. Europeans took from the indigenous people, white people took free labor from Africa, white people took land grants (Black people were excluded), white people took the law, 3 million white people joined the KKK in the 1920s, white people segregated jobs, rich white people dodged the draft with bogus medical deferments, rich white people inherited money built on real estate that illegally discriminated against Black people, rich white people lost borrowed money on casinos, didn’t repay the loans, but then declared the loss to avoid paying taxes, to this day, discrimination prevents people of all types from rising to their potential, so we’re left with drivel to be our leaders.

            Obama tapped my phones- President Trump please.

            I prefer to feed hungry people. I am sorry for the abuse you must have had as a child.

          • Wow Luke, way to throw out the child abuse hand grenade. I feel very fortunate for the way I was raised. My parents were married for 56 years. My dad fought in the South Pacific in WW2. My parents taught my sisters and me the meaning of unconditional love and sacrifice. My dad worked in an auto factory for 37 years. He never earned more that $25,000 per year. They couldn’t pay for college by we all managed to work several jobs and pay for our own college. We are all successful people and have raised outstanding, well adjusted, accountable children. Try again.

          • Not a thing. I just believe that people should be accountable for the decisions they make in life.

        • PETER–

          We could “get people off food stamps” if most Americans could WORK–but the “captains of industry” decided
          economy. Without food stamps–a Department of Agriculture program–millions of Americans WOULD STARVE.

    • Michael J. "Orange Mike" Lowrey

      What Native American tribe do you belong to, Kev? If you want to live in North America, learn Cherokee or some other American language, not this immigrant “English” stuff.

      • Wrong. Washington Post, 16 March:
        “Immigrants are going hungry so Trump won’t deport them”
        From the article: “Undocumented immigrants are never eligible for food stamps, though they may live in a “mixed eligibility” household that does receive them. For instance, it’s not uncommon for undocumented parents to apply for assistance on behalf of their citizen children.” So unless the kid has his own, locked fridge…

        • Yeah , we wouldn’t want the kids to share their food. Maybe the NRA can give the kids an AR 15 and a loaded 100 round magazine and let them defend their food.

      Melania WORKED ILLEGALLY on her B1/B2 visa when she first came to the United States.

      1. Then you should get ICE to FIND ALL THE ILLEGAL WHITE PEOPLE from Europe,
      Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America who have been arriving since the
      1920’s and living with relatives and friends. ICE should raid EVERY American house
      that has WHITE FOLKS there, and interrogate all the grandparents, godparents,
      godchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren
      and friends who are living there. DEPORT ALL THE ILLEGAL WHITE PEOPLE

      That should empty out another 50 million people who BROKE THE IMMIGRATION LAWS
      and are now UNDOCUMENTED ILLEGALS.

  • @Peter Kyle

    Legal vs Illegal is not a simple black and white answer. There are “gotcha’ elements built into the terms for those that are here legally. Immigrants hear of someone being deported who thought that they were here 100% legally, and it incites fear into those that are here legally too. There is a lot of confusion.

    If someone questioned your legal status, telling you that your birth certificate and/or documents were fake, and questioned everything that you believed to be true about yourself, how confident would you be?

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