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ICE Deports Record Number of Immigrants in Year

John Morton, Gary Mead, Kumar Kibble, James Dinkins
From left; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton; Gary Mead, executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations; ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble and James Dinkins, executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), take part in a news conference to announce results of ICE-led enforcement targeting at-large criminal aliens, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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From left; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton; Gary Mead, executive associate director for Enforcement and Removal Operations; ICE Deputy Director Kumar Kibble and James Dinkins, executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), take part in a news conference to announce results of ICE-led enforcement targeting at-large criminal aliens, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said Tuesday his agency deported nearly 400,000 individuals during the fiscal year 2011 that just ended in September.

Morton announced the numbers in Washington, saying they were the largest in the agency’s history.

ICE said about 55 percent of the 396,906 individuals deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions. Officials said the number of individuals convicted of crimes was up 89 percent from 2008.

Officials could not immediately say how many of those crimes related just to previous immigration violations. Individuals can be convicted of a felony just for returning to the U.S. or being found in the U.S. after the government orders them to leave.

Among those deported were more than 1,000 people convicted of homicide. Another 5,800 were sexual offenders, and about 80,000 people convicted of drug related crimes or driving under the influence.

Authorities say two-thirds of those deported either recently crossed the border or had done so repeatedly.

“This comes down to focusing our resources as best we can on our priorities,” Morton said. “We continue to hope for comprehensive immigration reform at a national level, working with the Congress, but in the meantime, we work with the resources we have, under the laws we have.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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