The hotel chain Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after many Motel 6 locations gave guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Sharing those lists led to arrests and deportations of an as-yet-unknown number of hotel guests.
The hotel chain Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after many Motel 6 locations gave guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, NPR reports. Sharing those lists led to arrests and deportations of an as-yet-unknown number of hotel guests. The settlement was tentatively reached in July, but details were not public until this week. The agreement, which must be approved by a federal judge, calls for Motel 6 to pay money directly to affected guests and also to impose tighter controls over private information. Motel 6 has acknowledged that guest lists were given to authorities but denied that senior management was aware of the practice. The company said it had called last fall for all locations to stop sharing guest lists with ICE.
News of the practice broke last September when the Phoenix New Times investigated two corporate-owned Motel 6 locations in Phoenix. One anonymous hotel clerk told the alt-weekly, “We send a report every morning to ICE — all the names of everybody that comes in … we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.” A few months later, officials in Washington state said that six Motel 6 locations in the Puget Sound region admitted to the same guest-list sharing practice, which violates consumer protection laws. “The hotel turned over the guest list of everybody staying at the hotel. So thousands of individuals had their names turned over to ICE,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “And according to our interviews with employees at Motel 6, ICE agents would circle the names that looked Latino-sounding and run those names through a database and then would detain individuals based on those random checks.”