(CNSNews.com) – The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has announced the number of illegal aliens deported during fiscal year 2012, including 1,215 individuals who were convicted of homicide and 5,557 who were convicted of sexual offenses. At the same time, ICE announced that it was limiting deportations to serious criminals.
In all, 409,849 individuals were deported, according to ICE. Of these, approximately 55 percent, or 225,390 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies. This includes 1,215 aliens convicted of homicide, 5,557 aliens convicted of sexual offenses, 40,448 aliens convicted for crimes involving drugs, and 36,166 aliens convicted for driving under the influence.
"Smart and effective immigration enforcement relies on setting priorities for removal and executing on those priorities," ICE Director John Morton said in announcing the end-of-year announcement.
In the same press release ICE announced new guidance for detaining illegal aliens that “limits the use of detainers to individuals who meet the department's enforcement priorities and restricts the use of detainers against individuals arrested for minor misdemeanor offenses such as traffic offenses and other petty crimes, helping to ensure that available resources are focused on apprehending felons, repeat offenders and other ICE priorities.”
This new guidance applies to all ICE immigration enforcement programs, including Secure Communities, which partners ICE agents with state and local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration law.
"In order to further enhance our ability to focus enforcement efforts on serious offenders, we are changing who ICE will issue detainers against,” Morton said.
“While the FY 2012 removals indicate that we continue to make progress in focusing resources on criminal and priority aliens, with more convicted criminals being removed from the country than ever before, we are constantly looking for ways to ensure that we are doing everything we can to utilize our resources in a way that maximizes public safety," he said.
According to ICE, 96 percent of deportations fit this enforcement priority, leaving only four percent of individuals being deported that had not been convicted of a crime.