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ICE announces another record year for deportations

Photo by olongapowoodcraft/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Federal deportation numbers are out for fiscal year 2011, which ended Sept. 30.

And once again, the Obama administration is announcing that a record number of people have been deported during the past year, surpassing the record that was set during fiscal year 2010.

From the news release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:

Overall, in FY 2011 ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 396,906 individuals — the largest number in the agency's history.

Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.

ICE achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. Ninety percent of all ICE's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.

In October of last year, ICE reported there had been 392,862 deportations in fiscal year 2010, setting a record for deportations then. About half those deported had criminal records, some less serious than others.

This year's announcement comes on the heels of the Obama administration announcing in August that it would review the cases of "low priority" immigrants in deportation proceedings who didn't have a criminal record, although some of these cases continue moving through the system.

The administration has stood by its position that it will focus on people convicted of criminal offenses for deportation, defending its use of programs like Secure Communities, which allows the fingerprints of people booked into local jails to be shared with immigration officials. Critics of the program say it doesn't work as intended, landing too many non-offenders or people with low-level offenses, such as traffic offenses, in the deportation net.