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San Diego Defies National Trend By Removing Fewer Unauthorized Immigrants

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San Diego defies a record increase in the number of unauthorized immigrants removed from the United States. Removals include deportations and voluntary repatriations.

San Diego defies a record increase in the number of unauthorized immigrants removed from the United States. Removals include deportations and voluntary repatriations.

Removals from San Diego are on track to hit a six-year low.

In fiscal year 2008, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities removed about 24,500 unauthorized immigrants.

That number has dropped by 11,000 so far this fiscal year, with just two months to go.

The number of unauthorized immigrants convicted of crimes removed from San Diego has also fallen. It's not clear why.

John Morton directs ICE. He says that, nationwide, removals are set to hit an all-time high. He's working on two new programs to help Mexico absorb the number of people the U.S. sends back.

"We're right now in the final steps of creating an electronic exchange, where before we remove somebody to Mexico we give them (Mexican authorities) their criminal history and as much background as we can," says Morton.

Morton says he's also working with Mexico to expand a program to fly unauthorized migrants south to Mexico City.

Morton says that makes it more difficult for people to turn around and try to cross the border illegally again.

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