Federal agents arrested more than 3,100 unauthorized immigrants last week in the country’s biggest-ever operation targeting criminal and fugitive immigrants for deportation, immigration officials said Monday.
Gillian Christensen, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman, told msnbc.com that the agency has focused on deporting known criminals since President Barack Obama took office. Now, 50 percent of deported immigrants have prior criminal records. In 2008, about 30 percent had criminal records.
There were 11.9 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2008, about 4 percent of the nation’s population, according to the Pew Research Center. Last year, the service deported 396,000 people.