Spokane taxpayers spend $130K per year housing illegal immigrants

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by Hayley Guenthner & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 6:37 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- There are typically three illegal immigrants at any given time in the Spokane County Jail.  Some are there for immigration charges, others for very serious crimes.  It's a constant and expensive problem.

Jail staff said it costs $118 a day to cover the basic needs of an inmate.  With that average of three illegal's in jail everyday, that amounts to an annual cost of nearly $130,000.

KREM 2 asked: Taxpayers want to know, why can't we just deport them?

"They have due process," said Dan Veloski.  "Anytime you're dealing with the federal government, it seems like it takes longer than normal to get people through the system."

That means some of those illegal inmates will be in the Spokane County Jails for several months, over a year in some cases.  KREM 2 asked if there is any way to speed that up. We were told it's out of the county's hands and solely up to the federal government. It's Spokane's responsibility just to house them.

The majority of illegal immigrants in our jail are from Mexico, but staff said they've seen inmates from over a dozen different countries.

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