South Philly’s Cinco de Mayo parade canceled over deportation fears

Charles Mostoller

After a decade of bringing ornate costumes, traditional dance and festivities to South Philadelphia,ElCarneval de Puebla has been canceled this year, over rising fears of deportation.

The parade — held in late April or early May annually — celebrates the Battle of Cinco de Mayo, when, in 1868 Mexican forces defeated the French. The Pennsport festival brings thousands of spectators yearly, and is the largest Carneval de Puebla outside Mexico.

But, due to “severe conditions affecting the immigrant community,” this year’s celebration won’t go on, one parade organizer told NBC10.

RELATED: Photos: Carneval de Puebla 2015

Six organizers of the parade unanimously decided to cancel amid reports this week that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)detained nearly 250 people in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, NBC10 reported.

ICE said it specifically targeted individuals who posed public safety threats and those who violated immigration law, including those with multiple arrests or violent criminal arrests or convictions.

While ICE says it does not conduct targeted raidsor checkpoints, organizers of the Carneval say their event attracts thousands of revelers from New York City, Chicago and other cities and that they fear action taken against their guests.

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In 2010, Philadelphia’s Hispanic population exceeded 1.5 million, according to the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. More than 4.6 million Hispanics live in the Greater Philadelphia region, and 17 percent are of Mexican origin.

The greatest concentration of immigrants of Mexican origin are in South Philadelphia, as well, including Pennsport, the neighborhood east of East Passyunk that borders the Delaware River.

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