A record number of criminal aliens have been deported so far this year, reflecting a shift in emphasis by the Obama administration, according to an independent analysis released Monday.
In the first nine months of fiscal year 2010, 137,000 illegal immigrants designated as criminal aliens were deported, according to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, 60% more than in a comparable period of the Bush administration's last year and about one-third more than in a comparable period in the Obama administration's first year.
The numbers reflect ICE's implementation of a policy that targets illegal immigrants the government describes as criminal aliens, who have committed offenses since coming to the U.S. ranging from murder and sexual assault to property damage and traffic violations, according to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a nonpartisan research center affiliated with Syracuse University.
TRAC, however, found that just 17% of those classified as criminal aliens by ICE had committed serious crimes by the agency's own definition, including homicide and sexual assault.
About 11 million illegal immigrants reside in the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees ICE.