Demand Immigration Reform protest set Saturday in Bradenton

A peaceful protest for immigration reform will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday in response to the Supreme Court deadlock last week in a case challenging President Barack Obama’s immigration plan.

The Demand Immigration Reform protest, co-sponsored by local nonpartisan group, UNO: United Nation Organization, and the Answer Coalition, will take place on the sidewalk outside Supermarket Acapulco Tropical at 3525 First St. E., Bradenton.

“The Supreme Court couldn’t reach a majority for or against President Barack Obama’s plan to defer deportation for millions Thursday, effectively leaving his executive actions on hold and undocumented immigrants in limbo,” reads a part of the event’s details on Facebook.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon with a Herald reporter, UNO Executive Director Eleuterio “Junior” Salazar said many politicians running for office say they’re going to reform immigration policies, but end up doing nothing.

“It’s time we started digging deeper into their policies and ask to stop these mass deportations,” said Salazar, who is running for mayor of Bradenton. “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court couldn’t decide what (its) going to do and we have to now send a clear message to our constituents, those who are eligible to vote, to say get involved and get educated in local politics so, when (officials) are elected, they’re fighting for policies that are going to demand reform within our immigration system. They’re going to fight to keep families together.”

After the Supreme Court justices tied 4-4, Obama addressed reporters at the White House.

“For more than two decades now, our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken,” Obama said. “And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.”

Salazar said he heard about the Supreme Court tie from the radio while driving late last week.

“I’m torn because, although this doesn’t affect my family directly, I know tons of people who it does affect,” he said. “I have friends, I have other families that I do know that it does affect, and it breaks my heart to see people who are afraid to lose their loved ones. ... It saddens me. But then it goes back to what are we doing as a community, as a state, to elect officials (who) are truly going to represent our values, that are going to fight for reform and demand justice for all.”

Bryan Ellis, coordinator with the Answer Coalition, said the aftermath of the Supreme Court vote is bad for immigrant rights.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the need to end the deportations and to let people know that the Obama administration still can do a lot to help the immigrant rights situation and crisis in our country,” the 29 year old said, “and we believe he should do that.”

Amaris Castillo: 941-745-7051, @AmarisCastillo