The number of immigrants deported from Florida has jumped nearly 50 percent this year, signaling the federal government’s continuing enforcement push after a firestorm of public opinion derailed an immigration overhaul in Congress last year, reports the Miami Herald. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 5,889 illegal immigrants from the state in the first six months of 2008 to their home countries, including Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico. During the same period last year, authorities deported 3,942 immigrants.
Most likely, the deportations will intensify. Within the next month, two more teams will deploy in Florida to find and detain immigrants who have ignored final orders of deportation, officials said. About 20 percent — 1,251 — of those deported in 2008 had U.S. criminal records. Their offenses included aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, fraud, kidnapping, and money laundering. Sending criminals back home remains a serious matter for Caribbean leaders, who are experiencing an unprecedented crime wave in their tiny island-nations and say deportees are to blame. The U.S. government disputes that.