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Deportations up 63 percent in Georgia, the Carolinas
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There was a 63 percent increase in illegal immigrants deported from Georgia and the Carolinas in the 12 months ending in October, and thousands of criminals were tagged for removal from the country upon their release from prison, federal officials said Thursday.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Atlanta field office of detention and removal carried out a record 17,955 deportation orders, compared with 11,006 the previous year, officials said.

In Hall County, a local-federal immigration enforcement program known as 287(g) has prompted the deportation of people who are arrested on criminal charges while in the country illegally. The 287(g) program was implemented in Hall County in April, and as of last month, 564 people who were in the country illegally were turned over to officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings.

Another 91 people in the Hall County jail had immigration detainers, but will not be turned over to federal officials until their criminal cases are closed, according to sheriff’s officials.

They were among more than 40,000 people the field office processed in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina during the 2008 fiscal year.

They included Nai Yin Xue, a New Zealand man wanted in his homeland for the killing of his wife. He was arrested in suburban Atlanta in late February and escorted back to New Zealand in March.

Also deported was Afshin Rezaei, an Iranian living in Atlanta who pleaded guilty to exporting laptop computers to Iran through the United Arab Emirates in violation of export laws.

With help from state and local authorities, ICE said it identified 9,182 criminal aliens who were incarcerated. Georgia led the way with more than 4,700.

In addition, the agency began removal proceedings against another 7,000 criminals in state, local and federal jails and prisons, an increase from 3,722 in 2007.

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