STOCKTON (CBS13) — A big Cinco de Mayo celebration is scheduled to take place later this week in downtown Stockton, but there is a growing fear over deportation of undocumented individuals at this event.
Thousands of families have attended in the past, but some say they just don’t feel comfortable participating this year. The annual tradition aims to bring loved ones together, but this year some fear it might tear families apart. Many people blame President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Ignacio Martinez is one of several performers getting ready to take the stage for the city’s big Cinco de Mayo celebration. His only concern is that he won’t be entertaining a whole lot of people this year.
“I think it’s not right what they are doing up there. It’s not right for a lot of people, not only for Latino people but for the other people, other nationalities,” he said.
Martinez says families around the community have declined an invitation to participate in the event because of fear over their immigration status.
“They made them think this way and it shouldn’t be that way. Let’s come together, let’s enjoy ourselves,” said Martinez.
The Cinco de Mayo celebration helps benefit El Concilio, a nonprofit organization improving the quality of life for people in the Latino community. It’s an event that’s been going on for more than twenty years.
“Right now there is a lot of fear and paranoia in the community because of the president’s rhetoric on immigration, but we want them to know that we have working relationships with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the Stockton Police Department,” said Jose Rodriguez, president and CEO of El Concilio.
Earlier this year, Stockton city leaders passed a resolution calling the city a “welcoming community” where law enforcement will not interrogate, detain or stop people because of their immigration status. So, organizers say families shouldn’t be afraid of coming out to celebrate their heritage.
“We definitely want to encourage people to come out to the Cinco de Mayo event because it’s a family celebration and one of the things we want people to demonstrate is pride in their culture, in their language and their ethnicity,“ said Rodriguez.
The Cinco de Mayo celebration takes place at Weber Point in Stockton on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Stockton police and deputies with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office plan to attend the event as well to make sure all families have a safe time.