The pace of deportations of illegal immigrants from the Pacific Northwest has reached an all-time high.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 10,602 people from Washington, Oregon and Alaska in fiscal 2008, which ended Sept. 30. That’s a 37 percent increase over fiscal 2007 when 7,688 illegal aliens were sent back to their home countries, according to an ICE press release.
Almost a third of those deported in 2008 — 3,070 people — had a history of criminal convictions on top of being in the United States illegally. The number of criminal aliens deported increased by one-third over the previous year.
“ICE attributes the increase in deportations to the growth of the Criminal Alien Program, which focuses on identifying criminal aliens incarcerated in federal, state and local facilities,” according to a prepared statement from ICE. When ICE identifies a criminal alien in jail or prison, the agency takes steps to ensure that the alien is turned over for deportation upon their release from custody.
The increase in deportations in the Northwest reflects the national statistics. More than 345,000 people were deported from the United States in fiscal 2008, up from 288,000 in 2007.
By PAUL SHUKOVSKY
Last updated November 6, 2008 12:21 p.m. PT
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer