Deportation Nation


Here's some news to warm Lou Barletta's heart: ICE is locking up record numbers of people.

Aggressive immigration enforcement has led to record numbers of detainees in California and around the nation, prompting the federal government to speed up deportations and increasingly rely on transfers and contracts with local jails and private companies.

The detainee population jumped to nearly 27,900 nationwide in fiscal year 2007, up from about 19,700 the previous year, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In California, the population increased to more than 3,700, up from a little more than 3,200 last year.

The number of immigrants deported has risen to more than 261,000 in fiscal 2007, up from about 177,000 two years ago. 

The immigration agency's budget for bed space skyrocketed to $945 million last year, up from $641 million in fiscal year 2005.

Deportation is becoming more common as local officers are increasingly authorized to enforce immigration laws. Earlier this year, the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and ICE managed to deport a U.S. citizen.