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Deportations Down 20 Percent, Fewest Since 2007


Deportations of illegal immigrants are down 20 percent this year, the lowest number since 2007 according to a data analysis by the Associated Press.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent home nearly 259,000 immigrants during the 2014 fiscal year compared to 320,000 last year.

AP officials say fewer deportations are the result of court back logs exceeding 400,000 cases and the overtaxing of temporary holding facilities. That has led the Homeland Security Department to release many people into the U.S. interior with instructions to report back to authorities later.

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said removal numbers for this budget year have not been released, adding that officials are "still assessing a number of factors that inform ICE's ability to remove individuals."

"ICE remains focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of convicted criminals and recent border entrants," Christensen said in a statement.

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