Philly’s Cinco de Mayo celebration cancelled over fears of immigration crackdown

Marchers in Philadelphia's El Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia don caricature costumes depicting the Mexican army that prevailed over the French and Turkish forces during the 1862 Battle of Puebla, commonly known as Cinco de Mayo. (PRNewsFoto/Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, R. Kennedy for GPTMC)

Marchers in Philadelphia's El Carnaval de Puebla en Filadelfia don caricature costumes depicting the Mexican army that prevailed over the French and Turkish forces during the 1862 Battle of Puebla, commonly known as Cinco de Mayo. (PRNewsFoto/Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, R. Kennedy for GPTMC)

Organizers of the annual Carnaval de Puebla, one of Philadelphia’s biggest celebrations of Latino culture, have decided to cancel this year’s parade, citing concerns about federal authorities’ recent crackdown on immigrants.

The event, held in South Philly, has drawn as many as 15,000 people every year for the past decade. It is the city’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Organizers made the “sad but responsible” announcement March 7 on PhilatinosRadio.com. In a statement posted to their Facebook page the next day, they explained that some performers and participants come from around the United States and Mexico and shouldn’t take “unnecessary risks” at a time when President Trump has intensified deportation efforts.

“We know that everything is uncertain, (and) we don’t want them to run the risk,” the organizers wrote in Spanish.

The Carnaval de Pueblo is modeled after the colorful street fairs that celebrate Mexico’s military victories over invading foreign forces. Mexican forces successfully thwarted foreign invaders during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Participants in the South Philly parade typically wear ornate, traditional costumes and masks that represent historic and folk figures.

Organizers said they hope to hold the festival next year. 

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