New York: Nearly 400,000 foreigners convicted of various crimes were deported from the US this year by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is been recorded as the largest number in the history of the federal agency.

ICE Director John Morton said out of those deported, 55 per cent or 216,698 people were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 per cent increase in the removal of criminals since fiscal 2008.

For the fiscal year ending September 2011, 396,906 individuals were deported from the country. These included 1,119 people convicted of homicide, 5,848 convicted of sexual offenses, 44,653 convicted of drug related crimes and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence.

"These year-end totals indicate that we are making progress, with more convicted criminals, recent border crossers, egregious immigration law violators and immigration fugitives being removed from the country than ever before," Morton said.

Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano has directed ICE to focus its resources on expanding the use and frequency of investigations and programmes like Secure Communities and Operation Cross Check, which target criminal aliens besides focusing on repeat violators of immigration laws and immigration fugitives.