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Updated Apr 19, 2017 - 1:02 pm

ICE removes more than 5,000 immigrants from Arizona in first three months of 2017

FILE - In this May 25, 2010 file photo, shackled Mexican immigrants are boarded onto a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement jet chartered for deportation of illegal immigrants at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

PHOENIX — More than 5,000 illegal immigrants were removed from Arizona in the first three months of 2017, according to data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In an email, ICE said 5,283 people had been removed as of March 31.

Of those, 1,780 were removed from the state in January, followed by 1,613 in February and 1,890 in March.

The figures include immigrants who were forcibly deported, those who voluntarily deported and those removed from the country by Border Patrol.

Of the 5,283 immigrants, 3,074 had been convicted of a crime.

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported fewer than 1,000 immigrants had been arrested in the Phoenix area between Jan. 1 and mid-March.

The Post’s number is lower because the ICE data does not address arrest numbers, but instead people who were removed from Arizona.

The ICE data did not specify the nationality of any person who was removed or if anyone had been removed more than one time.

KTAR News has requested last year’s removal numbers. ICE is looking into the request.

In late January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that made all illegal immigrants, regardless of the crime, the focus of deportation efforts.

Arizona made the immigration spotlight shortly after the order was signed when two undocumented immigrants convicted of a crime — Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos and Juan Carlos Fomperosa Garcia — were detained and deported following routine check-ins with ICE.

“Fugitives who commit egregious crimes in their home country should not expect to find refuge in the U.S.,” Henry Lucero, the field office director for ICE in Phoenix, said in a release about the arrest and deportation of Juan Garica-Rendon, who was wanted for murder in Mexico.

The arrests garnered controversy among pro-immigration groups, who argued that the deportations were splitting up families and were not for the public good.

KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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