The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency announced its deportation numbers today for fiscal 2011, which ended in September.
Nationwide almost 400,000 were deported -- an ICE record -- and more than 20,000 were deported from South Texas, the agency said.
The South Texas area includes Houston, Corpus Christi and Beaumont; of the 20,450, about three-quarters were criminals, ICE said.
ICE said the high numbers deported resulted from the agency's policies, which it said "include the identification and removal of those that have broken criminal laws, threats to national security, recent border crossers, repeat violators of immigration law and immigration court fugitives."
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"Overall," the agency said, " in FY 2011 ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations removed 396,906 individuals -- the largest number in the agency's history. Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors -- an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008."
The breakdown of those deported:
-- 1,119 convicted of homicide -- 5,848 convicted of sexual offenses -- 44,653 convicted of drug related crimes -- 35,927 convicted of driving under the influence
"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," ICE director John Morton said.