ICE removes 'record number' of illegal aliens, says Morton

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed a record number of illegal aliens from the United States during the last fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, ICE Director John Morton announced Oct. 18.

In all, ICE removed 396,906 individuals, nearly 55 percent of whom were convicted criminals. Removals of criminals has increased by 89 percent since fiscal 2008, according to ICE figures. The Obama administration has said its policy is to focus on removing criminal aliens rather than illegal immigrants who came here as children or who have established community ties.

ICE's numbers have generated a small controversy since their release. For one thing, although a "record" in absolute terms, the number of persons removed this year is only about 1 percent greater than the 392,862 removed in fiscal 2010.

President Barack Obama himself has himself cast doubt on the numbers, telling a Hispanic audience on Sept. 28 that the statistics are "a little deceptive because what we've been doing is with the stronger border enforcement we've been apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back."

"That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours, sent back--that's counted as a deportation," Obama added.

On its website, ICE says recent border crossers are a high-priority target for ICE, adding that 45,938 such persons were removed during fiscal 2011. In all, 90.5 percent of removals dovetailed with an ICE priority, the ICE website also states.  

For more:
- go to the ICE website with fiscal 2011 removal figures

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