- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MIAMI (AP) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported nearly 400,000 people during fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30, ICE Director John Morton said Tuesday.

Mr. Morton announced the numbers in Washington, saying they were the largest in the agency’s history.

ICE said about 55 percent of the 396,906 people deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions. The number of deportations because of criminal convictions was up 89 percent from 2008, the agency reported.

Officials could not say immediately how many of those crimes related just to previous immigration violations. People can be convicted of a felony just for returning to the United States or being found in the U.S. after the government orders them to leave.

Among those deported were more than 1,000 people convicted of homicide. Another 5,800 were sexual offenders, and about 80,000 people were convicted of drug-related crimes or driving under the influence.

Authorities said two-thirds of those deported either recently crossed the border or had done so repeatedly.

“This comes down to focusing our resources as best we can on our priorities,” Mr. Morton said. “We continue to hope for comprehensive immigration reform at a national level, working with the Congress, but in the meantime, we work with the resources we have, under the laws we have.”

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