US deports record number of immigrants in 2011

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The United States deported  nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants in fiscal 2011 — the highest  number since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was  formed eight years ago.

About 396,906 foreign nationals were deported in the fiscal  year ending Sept. 30, the agency said yesterday.

This compares to about 393,000 removed in fiscal 2010.

The figure highlights tensions in President Barack Obama’s  attempts to ease deportations, which have been steadily  increasing, and his desire to formulate a more popular  immigration policy ahead of 2012 elections.

Illegal immigration is a hot political issue in the United  States. More than 11 million illegal immigrants live and work  in the United States, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.

States including Arizona and Georgia have tried to enact  their own laws cracking down on illegal immigration, arguing  that the federal government has done too little to stop it.

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