A record number of illegal immigrants were deported last year following traffic and drunk driving arrests, helping the Obama administration boost the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the US in 2010, accord to The Associated Press.
The US deported almost 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended September 30, approximately half of whom were classified as criminals. Of those arrests, Immigration and Customs Enforcement data indicates that about 27,653 were detained for drunk driving, more than double the amount recorded in 2008 during the last full year of the Bush administration. In addition, another 13,028 people were deported last year after being arrested for less serious traffic offenses, nearly three times more than the 4,527 deported for those crimes in 2008.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the AP that most people in the US are arrested for misdemeanor rather than felony offenses. However, she said the percentage of felon arrests and deportations will likely change over time as those individuals are released from prison.
“We’re not going to see them reflected in the numbers until we can begin to remove them,” she said.
Despite the increases, the Center for Immigration Studies reports that the total number of apprehensions of illegal immigrants by immigration enforcement agencies is less than half of what it was five years ago. The organization states that both Customs and Border Protection and ICE arrests have declined in recent years.