The Obama administration will continue to push for immigration reform until it’s done, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a packed lecture hall at Arizona State University Thursday, according to local media reports.
“We’re going to keep pushing this until we get it over the finish line,” the former Arizona governor said, according to The Arizona Republic, four days after a massive march for immigration reform on The Mall in Washington.
Immigration reform, she added, “is the most important issue for President Obama and of course this country,” according to news channel ABC 15.
However, protesters outside the lecture hall said the Democratic White House had done nothing to improve current conditions for immigrants in Arizona. “It hasn’t changed anything here in Maricopa County, everything has continued,” Carlos Garcia told the channel.
The demonstrators demanded that Napolitano, who supervises Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “control” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is under investigation for alleged abuse of power and has been accused of committing racial profiling when enforcing federal immigration law through an agreement with that agency.
Napolitano also criticized a bill making its way through the Arizona legislature that would make being in the state as an undocumented immigrant a violation of state trespassing laws.
“I thought I was right when I vetoed it the first time, I thought I was right the second time, I thought I was right the third time,” she said, according to the Daily Sun.