In a lawsuit, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said motel employees divulged the names, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, license-plate numbers and room numbers of at least 9,150 guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging the national budget chain disclosed the private information of thousands of guests to U.S. immigration authorities in violation of the state consumer-protection law, reports the Associated Press. Ferguson said motel employees divulged the names, birth dates, driver’s license numbers, license-plate numbers and room numbers of at least 9,150 guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant. At least six people were detained on or near motel property over two years. Motel 6 was aware that the agents used the guest-registry information to single out guests based on their national origin in violation of Washington state’s anti-discrimination law, the suit charged.
The company responded that in September, it notified staff members at its more than 1,400 locations that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guests lists to ICE. At a Motel 6 in Everett, Wa., for example, agents visited early in the morning or late at night and received a daily list of all guests staying at the location, Ferguson said. The agents would look for Latino-sounding names and determine if any of the guests were wanted in connection with civil immigration issues, the lawsuit alleges. The Attorney General’s Office began investigating after news reports that Motel 6 workers at two Phoenix locations provided guest information to agents who later arrested 20 people on immigration charges.