Posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 12:40 am

By CHELCEY ADAMI, Staff Writer
Imperial Valley Press

In September last year, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended a 40-year-old man previously convicted of child molestation, was deported and was trying to illegally re-enter the United States east of Calexico.

And in October last year, agents assigned to the Calexico station apprehended a 50-year-old man convicted of second-degree murder in Los Angeles, was deported and was also trying to illegally re-enter the United States through the Valley.

And in May this year, agents assigned to the El Centro station apprehended a 30-year-old man who had been convicted of sexual assault in Texas, was deported and, once again, trying to illegally re-enter the U.S. through the Valley.

These stories routinely occur right here in the Valley, and nationwide, Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported more convicted criminals illegally in the country during this fiscal year than the last five previous years, according to fiscal year statistics released last week. Statistics localized to region have not been made available yet.

While ICE removed 386,644 people from the country in fiscal year 2013, down from 409,849 last year, 59 percent, or 216,810, of all them were previously convicted of a crime, up from 55 percent last year.

The removal of convicted criminals has been steadily increasing since 2005 with a sharp increase occurring in 2010.

Overall, 74,159 were Level 1 offenders, 47,198 of them were Level 2 offenders and 95,453 were Level 3 offenders.

Ninety-five percent of people were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents and then processed, detained and removed by ICE. The rest were apprehended by Customs and Border Protection officers at ports of entry.

In fiscal year 2013, ICE removed 133,551 people who were apprehended in the interior of the U.S. with 82 percent of all interior removals previously convicted of a crime.

ICE removed 235,093 people apprehended along borders like in the Imperial Valley as the people tried to illegally enter the U.S. with 106,695 of those previously convicted of a crime.

Most of the people who were deported were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.