Homeland Security: 38,000 Immigrants Booted for Drug Offenses in 2009

Nearly 30 percent of 128,000 criminal immigrants removed from the U.S. last year committed crime involving illegal drugs, the Homeland Security Department announced Wednesday.

A total of 393,289 people were removed from the U.S. in 2009. Of those individuals, 128,345 were criminal aliens whose offense included the manufacture, distribution, sale and possession of illegal drugs, or 29 percent of all criminal aliens removed last year. Traffic offenses and immigration violations were the second- and third-most frequent type of violation, representing 15.9 and 15.4 percent of all removals, respectively.

The statistics, which were posted on the Department of Homeland Security's website, also revealed that of the 613,000 foreign nationals apprehended by federal authorities, 86 percent were natives of Mexico. The next leading countries were Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, China and Brazil.

The report also found that a record high number of foreign nationals were removed -- 393,000 -- for a seventh consecutive year. The leading countries of origin of those removed were Mexico (72 percent), Guatemala (7 percent), and Honduras (7 percent).

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials also detained approximately 383,000 foreign nationals in 2009, while 580,000 foreign nationals were returned to their home countries without a removal order, according to the report. Eighty-five percent of those returns involved Mexican or Canadian aliens.