New Year’s Day parade sparks controversy over ‘border detention center’ float with child in a cage

A New Year’s Day parade in Delaware is under fire for a controversial float showing a “border detention center” with a child in a cage, according to reports.

The float in the Middletown Hummer’s Parade trigged outrage online, the Wilmington News Journal reported.

The parade spoofs Philadelphia's larger New Year's Day Mummer's Parade.

"This went more than close to the edge,” Democrat Stephanie Hansen, who represents Middletown in the Delaware State Senate and saw the display in person, was quoted by the paper as saying. “It went over the edge and it has to be called out.”

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She added: "The irreverent and satirical humor is fine and it's expected every year, but I think some of the displays took a mean and nasty turn. The antidote to that is more speech redirecting the public discourse and saying, 'This was wrong, you crossed a line.'”

The float in question had a sign saying "Border Detention Center" with a nearly naked adult in one cage and a child in a cowboy hat in another, according to Fox 29 Philadelphia.

The Delaware Democratic State Senate Caucus expressed its outrage on Facebook, saying the event crossed "a line from tongue-in-cheek irreverence to poor taste."

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"It is fine — even healthy — to poke fun at politicians, ideologies, and celebrities, but satire is best when it is aimed at the prominent and powerful; jokes about children in cages and the humanitarian crisis at the border are simply 'punching down,'" the caucus said. "The tenor of these displays is divisive, mean-spirited, and entirely counter to our state's values."

But parade participant Michael Wipf, who hid baby dolls taped to his chest under a blanket and walked alongside signs reading "Not Mexican I'm Russian Let Me In," said people who don't like the parade don't have to attend.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.