Federal immigration officials' strategy of focusing long and potentially expensive deportation hearings on the 'worst of the worst' illegal immigrants has paid off in hundreds of convicted sex offenders being removed from Texas just in the first five months of the current fiscal year, 1200 WOAI news has learned.


  Figures obtained by 1200 WOAI news show that nearly 900 sex offenders have been deported from Texas in the past five months.


  "27% of them have been convicted of a sex offense against children," said Enrique Lucero, the Field Director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations for the 54 county San Antonio Region, which stretches from Austin to the Rio Grande.


  Lucero said ICE agents didn't have to go far to find a lot of these sex offenders.


  "These individuals are found while they are serving time for whatever offense they were convicted of," he said, pointing out that fully 90% of them were either in county jails or in the state prison system.


  He says this is a much more effective use of limited ICE resources, to go after criminals, mainly sex offenders, and targeting them for deportation, instead of attempting to deport all people here illegally, many of whom have committed no offense other than misdemeanor illegal entry.


  "I see that as the current trend that we are seeing," he said.  "For the main reason that like anybody else, we don't want to see these people being released into our communities."