By Suzanne Gamboa
WASHINGTON — The Homeland Security Department says about half of the 392,000 people it removed from the country in the past year were criminals.
The total removals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement falls short of the agency's goal of 400,000 for the 2010 fiscal year. But it is just above the 2009 total of 389,834. About 35 percent of immigrants deported in 2009 were considered criminals by the department.
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The department is unveiling the totals just 28 days before November's midterm elections in which Democrats are facing possible losses of their majorities in Congress. A news conference is planned for Wednesday afternoon. The AP obtained early details that were posted on a department blog.