2010: ICE deports the most illegals in history - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

2010: ICE deports the most illegals in history

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PASCO, Wash., -- Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton today announced record-breaking immigration enforcement statistics achieved under the Obama administration- including unprecedented numbers of convicted criminal alien removals and overall alien removals in fiscal year 2010.

Secretary Napolitano's announcements reflect this administration's continued focus on smart and effective immigration enforcement over the past 20 months-prioritizing the identification and removal of criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety.

"This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law," said Secretary Napolitano. "Our approach has yielded historic results, removing more convicted criminal aliens than ever before and issuing more financial sanctions on employers who knowingly and repeatedly violate immigration law than during the entire previous administration."

Tom Roach, an immigration attorney of Roach Law Offices in Paso says, "about half the people who were deported were criminals, the other half are people cutting the asparagus, they're the ones mowing your lawns.'

Lorie Dankers The Spokeswoman & Public Affairs Officer for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington broke the numbers down by region. In 2010, 9,833 illegals were deported, of that number nearly half, or 195,772 had a criminal record. Compared to 2003 where 4,589 were deported and 2,829 were convicted criminals.

"We get a lot more calls in this office I've been here for 27 years, and in the last year we've got a lot more calls from people that are in custody," says Roach.

Lt. Robert Guerrero with the Benton County Sheriff's office Department of Corrections says, "we have 645 people incarcerated here in our facility and of the 645, 29 of them have ICE detainers on them." that's about 4.5%. He says ICE officers are in the jail on a daily basis interviewing inmates.

In Franklin County, the percentage is much higher, at 19%. Of the 176 people jailed, 34 of them have an ICE hold on them.

"This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law," said Secretary Napolitano. "Our approach has yielded historic results, removing more convicted criminal aliens than ever before and issuing more financial sanctions on employers who knowingly and repeatedly violate immigration law than during the entire previous administration."

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.

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