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DHS Touts Record Immigration Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported a record number of illegal immigrants in the 2010 fiscal year, removing 392,000 illegal immigrants from the country, according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security today. That’s only 8,000 away from the 400,000 people ICE Chief John Morton has said the agency has the resources to deport in a year.

From a DHS press release today (emphasis mine):

In fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide. Half of those removed-more than 195,000-were convicted criminals.** The fiscal year 2010 statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008**-a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the previous administration.

Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions-more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration.

DHS has said it will target criminal illegal immigrants first to ensure it makes the most of its limited priorities. But immigrant rights groups have criticized the department for continuing to deport large numbers of non-criminal illegal immigrants. This continues to be an issue, Brittney Nystrom, director of policy and legal affairs for the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement:

Data sharing and today’s releases of statistical information are welcomed and encouraged, and we appreciate their efforts at reform…. While the numbers released today paint a picture of enforcement that is more targeted than in years past, serious questions and questionable programs remain…. The numbers prove that ICE’s targeting remains imprecise and inadequate and it results in the unfair and unnecessary deportations of immigrants.

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