The Obama administration deported a record number of illegal immigrants for the fourth year in a row, according to the numbers released by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE).
In fiscal year 2012, 409,849 people were removed from the country. That’s 13,000 more compared to the previous year.
“Smart and effective immigration enforcement relies on setting priorities for removal and executing on those priorities,” said John Morton, the director of ICE.
According to the agency, 55 percent of those deported were convicted of felonies and misdemeanors. ICE considers this a success, as it has focused on using its limited resources to remove convicted criminals.
Immigration advocates say the numbers for the most serious convictions are too low and that ICE’s policies are splitting families apart.