The United States has deported more people over the past fiscal year than ever before, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
ICE deported 396,906 people between October 2010 and September 2011. About 55 percent of those deported had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors.
“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 in a press release.
ICE officials see the deportation numbers as positive, but the agency has come under heat for its recent practices, particularly over the controversial Secure Communities program. It directs local police departments to share finger prints and other arrest information with immigration officials. Critics say domestic violence victims and witnesses have been deported as a result, and that can foster distrust between immigrant communities and police. Federal officials have announced reforms, although there is still skepticism over how such changes will be implemented.
D.C. has yet to implement Secure Communities, but it may soon be mandatory around the country.