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We're Getting Better at Deporting Convicts

More than half of those sent packing in last year were criminal offenders
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2011 10:32 AM CDT
We're Getting Better at Deporting Convicts
An undocumented Guatemalan immigrant, chained for being charged as a criminal, prepares to board a deportation flight to Guatemala City, June 24, 2011 in Mesa, Arizona.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The US is not only deporting more illegal immigrants than ever, it’s doing a better job of booting actual convicts, according to figures released today by Homeland Security. The US deported 396,906 people in fiscal 2011, a new record, USA Today reports, and 55% of those deported were convicted criminals—a nearly 10-year high. That group includes 1,119 people convicted of homicide and 5,848 who committed sexual crimes.

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The increase is thanks in part to an Obama administration directive to center deportation efforts around convicts, which the director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement calls a "focus on sensible immigration." He explains, "In the face of limited resources, we have to prioritize, and that starts with criminal offenders." Conservative critics counter that the administration is granting a free pass to non-offending illegal immigrants, while immigration advocates complain that the percentage of non-convict deportees is still too high. (Read more Department of Homeland Security stories.)

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