More than 195,000 criminals were deported in 2010, a 70 percent increase over 2008 in the forced removal of criminal aliens. Officials credited the increase to programs such as Secure Communities, which focuses law enforcement resources on identifying illegal immigrants who have committed crimes and are being held in local and state jails.
"ICE is committed to tough law enforcement," said ICE director John Morton.
The report comes at a time when the number of illegal immigrants coming into the United States is declining, according to a report released in September by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Based on census and labor statistics, the Pew report found that roughly 300,000 illegal immigrants crossed the border annually between 2007 and 2009, down from about 850,000 that entered annually from 2000 to 2005.
The Obama administration said at the time that the figures were evidence that efforts to improve border security are working. Over the summer, President Obama deployed 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border to bolster efforts to stop illegal entry, and the United States has cracked down on employers that hire illegal immigrants.
The administration also has weathered criticism from liberals and conservatives over its deportation policy. Advocates of immigration reform say they think Obama has reneged on a campaign promise to tackle comprehensive immigration reform and instead has favored increased enforcement.
Critics on the right feel that ICE is selectively enforcing the immigration laws by focusing on criminal aliens.