Cinco de Mayo festivals may suffer drop in attendance due to fears of immigration raids

While not yet a legal U.S. citizen, Roberto Florez says that won’t stop him from taking his two children to the Cinco de Mayo festival in Stockton on Sunday.

The Stockton Police Department says they’re not working with ICE to conduct raids or help with checkpoints.

But, despite that, others unlike Florez, might decide to skip it this year, fearful ICE might actually show up.

Last year, about 12,000 people attended the El Concilio Cinco de Mayo Family Fiesta at Weber Point. But this time around, El Concilio says promoters have warned them there could be a drop off in attendance.

“This year we're concerned we may not get the numbers that we think we should simply because of the fears of the community about ICE," said El Concilio president Jose Rodriguez.

The nonprofit social services organization has heard from Central Valley concert promoters already seeing a stunning effect surrounding the fear of immigration and deportation.

“A lot of them are seeing a downturn in the attendance and that they have actually had to cancel some events because people aren’t coming out at the way they normally do," Rodriquez said. "They cautioned me with how much money I spend on my event because you might just not see the return that you normally would expect."

Sarai Gonzalez went through the legalization process and is a citizen. She is planning on going to the festival, but is saddened that others are scared to show up.

“I would say they don’t have to show fear about it. They just don’t.," Gonzalez said.

That’s the message El Concilio is trying to get out to the community.

For Roberto Florez it's reassurance enough. He says he is about two months away from becoming a legal U.S. citizen.

“I respect the rules," Florez said. "I try to make everything good."

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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