Secretary Napolitano's announcements reflect this administration's continued focus on smart and effective immigration enforcement over the past 20 months-prioritizing the identification and removal of criminal aliens who pose a threat to public safety.
"This administration has focused on enforcing our immigration laws in a smart, effective manner that prioritizes public safety and national security and holds employers accountable who knowingly and repeatedly break the law," said Secretary Napolitano. "Our approach has yielded historic results, removing more convicted criminal aliens than ever before and issuing more financial sanctions on employers who knowingly and repeatedly violate immigration law than during the entire previous administration."
"ICE is committed to tough law enforcement that protects the safety and security of the American people," said ICE Director John Morton. "These record-setting numbers are the result of strong, sensible enforcement programs and priorities, and the dedication of thousands of ICE agents and officers who work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe."
Secretary Napolitano and Director Morton were joined by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Adrian Garcia, and Fairfax County, Va., Sheriff Stan Barry at today's announcement.
In fiscal year 2010, ICE set a record for overall removals of illegal aliens, with more than 392,000 removals nationwide. Half of those removed-more than 195,000-were convicted criminals. The fiscal year 2010 statistics represent increases of more than 23,000 removals overall and 81,000 criminal removals compared to fiscal year 2008-a more than 70 percent increase in removal of criminal aliens from the previous administration.
DHS has also expanded the Secure Communities initiative-which uses biometric information and services to identify and remove criminal aliens in state prisons and local jails-from 14 jurisdictions in 2008 to more than 660 today, including all jurisdictions along the Southwest border. DHS is on track to expand this program to all law enforcement jurisdictions nationwide by 2013. This year alone, Secure Communities has resulted in the arrest of more than 59,000 convicted criminal aliens, including more than 21,000 convicted of major violent offenses like murder, rape, and the sexual abuse of children.
Since January 2009, ICE has audited more than 3,200 employers suspected of hiring illegal labor, debarred 225 companies and individuals, and imposed approximately $50 million in financial sanctions-more than the total amount of audits and debarments than during the entire previous administration.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.