Four Latin American countries accounted for 91 percent of the record number of people deported in the recently-completed fiscal year.
Nearly 363,000 of the 396,900 people deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in fiscal year 2011 were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, government figures show. Here’s the breakdown:
• Mexico - 286,893 (72 percent)
• Guatemala - 33,324 (8 percent)
• Honduras - 23,822 (6 percent)
• El Salvador - 18,870 (5 percent)
There was a big dropoff to the next country, Brazil, which accounted for 3,364 deportations. Only seven other countries accounted for more than 1,000 deportations: Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Jamaica, China and Peru.
The combined deportations of citizens from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have accounted for 87-91 percent of the yearly deportations by Immigration and Customs Enforcement every year since 2001, government figures show.
Mexico has been the leading country of origin for deportees every year in this span, accounting for 57-73 percent of the yearly deportations.
Criminal illegal immigrants
The breakdown of the felony and misdemeanor crimes committed by the nearly 217,000 deportees defined as "criminal" illegal immigrants is not yet available for the completed fiscal year 2011.
But, the figures through the first 10 1/2 months of fiscal 2011 show that five crimes account for 62 percent of the people in this category:
• Dangerous drugs - 37,083 (22 percent)
• Driving under the influence, liquor - 28,214 (17 percent)
• Immigration offenses - 28,110 (17 percent)
• Miscellaneous traffic offense - 14,331 (8 percent)
• Assault - 11,386 (7 percent).
Four of these crimes — drugs, DUI, immigration and assault — have been among the top five every year since 2001.
But the miscellaneous traffic offenses category has not always been among the leaders. The percentage of criminal illegal immigrants who have committed some kind of traffic offense has been on the rise each of the past five years.
This category includes hit and run; transporting dangerous material; driving under the influence of drugs; driving under the influence of liquor; and other traffic offenses. Here is a look at how this category has increased as a percentage of the total deportations of “criminal” illegal immigrants:
Fiscal 2011* — 44,136 (26 percent)
Fiscal 2010 — 42,339 (22 percent)
Fiscal 2009 — 27,354 (20 percent)
Fiscal 2008 — 16,249 (14 percent)
Fiscal 2007 — 10,787 (10 percent)
Fiscal 2006 — 6,154 (7 percent)
The Obama administration has taken criticism from both sides of the immigration debate for rising deportation levels.
Republican border hawks and critics of the administration's immigration enforcement strategy call the deportation numbers inflated because they include people who voluntarily leave with no penalties and may be able to cross back into the country illegally.
Immigrant rights groups contend the government is unfairly targeting illegal immigrants who are not a menace to society, separating families and creating fear in immigrant communities.
Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org