Washington State Suit: Motel 6 Sold Its Guests Out to ICE

Complaint says budget hotel chain voluntarily gave up personal guest info to immigration officials
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2018 8:03 AM CST
Washington State Sues Motel 6 for 'Disturbing' ICE Interactions
In this Nov. 28, 2017, file photo, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at a news conference in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

Washington state is suing Motel 6 for selling out its guests, accusing the budget motel chain of voluntarily giving ICE officials daily lists with guests' driver's license numbers, DOBs, and room numbers, reports KIRO 7. "The scale of what Motel 6 was doing is deeply disturbing to me," says state AG Bob Ferguson, per the Wall Street Journal. Ferguson says Motel 6 flouted the state's Consumer Protection Act more than 9,000 times at at least six hotels over more than two years, and ICE agents would scour the lists for "Latino-sounding names," among others, per a release. Ferguson notes Motel 6, which says at least six people were detained, even trained new hires on giving data to ICE. The complaint, which seeks $2,000 per violation, is just one step the state has taken against President Trump's immigration crackdown, with other suits already filed on DACA and deportations.

A spokeswoman from ICE, which wasn't listed as a defendant in the suit, noted to the Journal that "viable enforcement tips" were received "from a host of sources" on "highly dangerous illegal enterprises" she says take place at hotels and motels; she didn't name Motel 6 itself. The company, however, has conceded it gave away guest information, issuing a statement last year saying it happened "at the local level without the knowledge of senior management." Ferguson rebuts that, noting the chain has done the same in Arizona. The company says it's now revamping its guidelines and will instruct all of its 1,400-plus locations not to hand over guest info without legal papers. "A guest's activities in their property, particularly their hotel room, is expected to be kept private," a hospitality law attorney tells the Journal. "That's one of the basic understandings." (More lawsuit stories.)

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