U.S. authorities deported record number of illegal immigrants over the past year, including unprecedented number of convicted illegals with criminal records, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Tuesday.
In the 2011 fiscal year which ended last month, the ICE deported more than 396,000 illegal immigrants nationwide -- the largest number in the agency's history, the ICE said in a statement. Of these, nearly 55 percent or more than 216,000 of the people deported were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors -- an 89 percent increase since FY 2008.
"Smart and effective immigration enforcement relies on setting priorities for removal and executing on those priorities," said ICE Director John Morton. "These year-end totals indicate that we are making progress, with more convicted criminals, recent border crossers, egregious immigration law violators and immigration fugitives being removed from the country than ever before."
The Obama administration announced in Aug. that it will review the current deportation caseload to clear out low-priority cases on a case-by-case basis and make more room to deport people who have been convicted of crimes or pose a security risk.