Every year, as the weather warmed, hundreds of people would transform a lot in south Philadelphia into a frenetic re-enactment of their ancestors’ glory: the great battle of May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army defeated French invaders.
This year, they won’t be celebrating anything.
There have been immigration raids across the country and reports of White House deportation plans. Attorneys and prosecutors in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado have all reported teams of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents sweeping into courtrooms or lurking outside court complexes, waiting to arrest immigrants who are in the country illegally. Schools with large immigrant communities are considering how to care for children whose parents could be detained in federal raids.
Amid all this, Philadelphia’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration has been canceled.
“Everyone’s pretty much afraid because they’re saying that, basically, ICE is just going to come in out of nowhere,” resident Florencia Gonzalez told NBC 10.
“I’m devastated to hear that ICE has had such a chilling effect that Philadelphians no longer feel comfortable engaging in this public celebration,” Mayor Jim Kenney told the station.
An ICE official told the station the agency “does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”
But many immigrants have been in a state of panic after news of operations such as a nationwide sweep that detained 700 people in one day or the public arrest of a Los Angeles man near his daughter’s school.
And after promising during the 2016 campaign to deport millions of people in the country illegally, Mr. Trump’s administration has proposed hiring thousands of new immigration agents, building a border wall and speeding up removals.
Los Angeles Times contributed.Mexico - North America - Central America - Latin America and Caribbean - Philadelphia - Pennsylvania - United States - Edgar Ramirez - Jim Kenney