US deported 368,644 people in 2013

The U.S. deported 368,644 people in the 2013 fiscal year, a 10 percent drop from 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced today.

The agency stressed that 98 percent of the deportations were of convicted criminals, recent border crossers or those previously deported.

"The FY 2013 numbers make clear that we are enforcing our nation's laws in a smart and effective way, meeting our enforcement priorities by focusing on convicted criminals while also continuing to secure our nation's borders in partnership with CBP," Acting Director John Sandweg.

The agency said 59 percent of the deportations were of convicted criminals, the highest percentage in the last five years. Of the 133,551 people deported from the "interior" of the U.S., as opposed to the border, the agency said 82 percent were convicted criminals.

The demographics of the people deported shifted markedly from 2012. The country of origin for 90,461 was somewhere other than Mexico, a 27 percent increase from the previous year. Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador follow Mexico at the top of the list.

While the Obama administration has emphasized its targeted approach to deportations, the overall number of people deported has increased under Obama, and advocacy groups are not satisfied.

“Today’s news only underscores that the administration has much more work to do. The 368,644 removals by ICE includes a huge number of actions against parents and family members of U.S. citizens,” Don Lyster, director of the National Immigration Law Center’s Washington office, said in a statement. “This year the federal government is spending $18 billion on efforts to find, detain, and deport immigrants, resources that could be better spent on education our children or restoring access to safety-net programs.”