MIAMI - John Morton, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement director, said yesterday that his agency deported nearly 400,000 individuals during fiscal 2011, which ended in September.
ICE said about 55 percent of the 396,906 individuals deported had felony or misdemeanor convictions. Officials said the number of individuals convicted of crimes was up 89 percent from 2008.
Officials could not immediately say how many of those crimes related to previous immigration violations.
Individuals can be convicted of a felony for returning to the United States or being found in the country after the government orders them to leave.
Among those deported were more than 1,000 people convicted of homicide.
Another 5,800 were sexual offenders, and about 80,000 people convicted of drug-related crimes or driving under the influence.
Authorities say two-thirds of those deported either recently crossed the border or had done so repeatedly.
“This comes down to focusing our resources as best we can on our priorities,’’ Morton said. “We continue to hope for comprehensive immigration reform at a national level, working with the Congress, but in the meantime, we work with the resources we have, under the laws we have.’’