SEATTLE (AP) -- The number of illegal immigrants in the Pacific Northwest removed from the country keeps dropping.

New numbers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement show that just over 6,700 immigrants were removed in fiscal year 2012 from Washington, Oregon and Alaska. That compares with a five-year high of nearly 11,000 expelled in 2008.

The 2012 numbers also show that for the first time in five years, the number of illegal immigrants with criminal records declined. The data show that more than 4,500 were removed in 2012, compared with nearly 5,300 the previous year.

In recent years, ICE has made removing illegal immigrants with criminal records one of its top priorities. Nationally, the total number of removals stood at nearly 410,000, with nearly 70 percent of those with criminal records.

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