The United States deported a record number of nearly 400,000 people in fiscal year 2011 than ever before, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) statistics released Tuesday.
Under the Obama administration’s focus on deporting illegals who have committed crimes, more than half of the 396,906 people deported had been convicted of felony or misdemeanor crimes, according to the ICE numbers. The figures represent a 90 percent increase in the number of criminals deported over those in fiscal year 2008, The Hill
Republicans have criticized the White House’s emphasis on criminals over those who are in the country illegally but have not been arrested for other crimes. Republicans say this provides illegal immigrants with a backdoor path to citizenship.
ICE Director John Morton attributed this increase to the agency’s newly revamped discretionary policy that allows agents to focus on removing illegal immigrants they deem to be a more imposing threat to society over those who are in the country illegally but are not violating other laws.
“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,” Morton said.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Tuesday that he plans to ask Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who’s scheduled to appear before the committee on Wednesday, about the new ICE policies.
“The Obama policies may be an impermissible intrusion on Congress’s plenary authority over immigration law,” said Grassley, speaking at Judicial Watch. “They’re pushing the envelope for sure, and there’s little transparency in their actions.”
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