CRIME TRACKER: Costs to house undocumented immigrants

CRIME TRACKER: Costs to house undocumented immigrants »Play Video
BENTON, FRANKLIN COUNTIES, Wash. -- Action News is always tracking your taxpayer dollars. We learned more of your money is going to pay for illegal immigrants in our jails. Officials are working to combat just that with a fingerprinting technology.

You pay for every criminal housed behind the jail's doors: food, clothing and supervision. When an inmate is an undocumented immigrant, it's no different.

"The costs are spiraling out of control. Sometimes I wonder, is that the actual cost to house them, is this administrative costs built in, is it the cost of the program?" asked local taxpayer Kim Schauss.

Kim Schauss is a strong believer in welcoming immigrants to the U.S. But when we showed her the costs to house illegal inmates in Franklin County, she was shocked.

"So, we're looking around $800 maybe just for a brief stay. And that's a lot of money," said Schauss.

Last year, the average prisoner stay in Franklin County was 12 days.
The daily rate is $62. Between December of 2012 and November of last year, the county shelled out almost half a million dollars to house these illegal immigrants.

Last year, Franklin County held over 600 illegal immigrants. Up by nearly 40 percent from our report earlier. Officials say fluctuation is expected.

Both Benton and Franklin Counties are keeping better track of these criminals with a new fingerprinting system and deporting those who commit violent crimes.

"Now, we have a larger database. It's better for them to be able to track as well as us to be able to track. It gives us more information," said Franklin County Corrections Captain Rick Long.

"As technology increases, that it's just going to be easier and easier for everyone to be kept track of," added Schauss.

Residents like Kim just hope these systems continue to improve, all to better use taxpayer resources and keep our community safe.