By Elena Shore,La Opinión
WASHINGTON -- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday that it has deported a total of 392,000 people during the 2010 fiscal year. About 35,910 were the product of the Secure Communities program. Of these, half came from California.
According to the new figures, 195,772 convicted criminals were deported. Of these,150,227 were convicted of more serious crimes, and 45,545 were convicted of minor offenses such as traffic violations.
There were more than 23,000 more general deportations this year than in 2008, and 81,000 more deportations of criminals.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the operation of programs such as Secure Communities are key to achieving this goal. Under Secure Communities, the fingerprints of people arrested by local police agencies are shared with the federal office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Currently, 650 jurisdictions across the country use the program. ICE expects this number to increase to 900 by next year.
Secure Communities has been seriously challenged by civil rights organizations. The government initially presented the program as voluntary. However, when jurisdictions such as San Francisco tried to opt out, it was not possible.
In California, where 38 of its 58 jurisdictions have implemented Secure Communities, 16,764 criminals were deported.