The majority of the nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants deported last year were convicted criminals, according to figures to be released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, USA Today reports.
The number of deportations has been on the rise in the last decade, with 396,906 illegal immigrants deported in fiscal year 2011—the highest number yet, according to the report. In 2000, the number of people deported was 116,782.
When Obama assumed office, the percentage of criminal deportations was at 31 percent, but with a policy of prioritizing the deportation of convicted criminals, that number has risen. In 2010, 55 percent of those deported were convicted criminals, which is the highest percentage in nearly a decade.
"In the face of limited resources, we have to prioritize, and that starts with criminal offenders," Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton said, according to USA Today.
"We are making sure that people who game the system face the consequences."