Immigration Fears Put Damper On Cinco De Mayo Celebrations

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — From margaritas to mariachis, the fifth of May, Cinco De Mayo, may be an excuse for partiers to drink and dance.

But for Jose Franco, it’s a day to honor his homeland.

“It’s difficult because times have changed,” he said.

We found Franco serving up a taste of Mexico with churros on the UC Davis quad, publicizing his pride.

“We’re an immigrant nation; our culture is everywhere,” he says.

The problem is, many of his friends and family are reluctant to take part in Cinco de Mayo festivities due to fears of President Donald Trump’s stepped up deportations.

In Stockton, some immigrant communities are downplaying celebrations- worried about being exposed to possible immigration agents.

“Right now, there’s a lot of fear and paranoia in the community,” said a representative with the El Concilio in Stockton.

But Sacramento immigration attorney Douglas Lehrman says the fear is misunderstood.

“Rhetoric during the presidential campaign by President Trump has created this fear every time ICE comes out,” said Lehrman.

New Trump rules allow for more deportations for anyone caught breaking the law, but local authorities have vowed to avoid “immigration sweeps,” and instead perform “targeted raids” on people with violations of deportation orders and violent criminal records. And they, too, have rights.

“A warrant is needed to conduct an arrest,” said Lehrman.

Lehrman gives each of his clients a red, laminated card explaining their Fifth Amendment rights, in both English and Spanish.

On the streets of Midtown Sacramento Friday, celebrations showed no sign of unease.

“It’s like any other day,” said one partier.

Mexican Americans here say reluctance to celebrate is also bolstered by ignorance about the holiday’s meaning.

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, but a day marking a 19th century battle between Mexico and invading French forces.

More from Lemor Abrams
Comments

One Comment

  1. Cinco is mainly used by whites to drink and drive on May 5th or whatever Fri/Sat night is closest to that day. Whites basically stole the holiday for their own purposes.

    If you’re an illegal and you have even a minor criminal record, you want to stay low and avoid police contact. You don’t want to explain to your family that you’re getting kicked out, because of partying on a “holiday” nobody in Mexico even celebrates. It’s embaraszsing.

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