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Motel 6 Will Pay $12 Million for Handing Over Guest Info to ICE

Sophie Weiner Apr 08, 2019. 15 comments

The hotel chain Motel 6 has agreed to pay $12 million in a lawsuit that accused several of its Washington state locations of handing over guest information to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency , according to ABC.

The motel company was accused of sharing the information of 80,000 customers with ICE between 2015 and 2017. ICE didn’t provide a warrant for this information. The information “resulted in ICE’s targeted investigation of many guests with Latino-sounding names,” according to a release from the Washington attorney general’s office.

Motel 6 admitted that six locations shared information with ICE. The government says it was seven locations.

The stunning breadth of the information included guests’ names, driver’s license numbers, passport or green card numbers, ID numbers, room numbers, guest identification numbers, dates of birth, and license plate numbers.

The lists had serious impacts on guests, including detention and deportation. Some were detained while they were still staying at the motel.

The attorney general’s office described some of the arrests made by ICE based on the information given to them by Motel 6, including the story of one man who was apparently staying at a Seattle location to wrap his children’s Christmas presents.

“ICE agents approached him in the hotel’s parking lot, detained him and deported him some days later. His wife had to retrieve the presents and his other belongings from the Motel 6 after his arrest,” the office said in a statement. “The man was the sole provider for the household, and his wife is currently struggling to support their toddler and four other children.”

The company that owns Motel 6, G6 Hospitality, says it has implemented new procedures for dealing with law enforcement requests.

“The safety and security of our guests, which includes protecting guest information, is our top priority, and we are pleased to be able to reach resolution in this matter,” a company spokesperson said. “As part of the agreement, Motel 6 will continue to enforce its guest privacy policy, which prohibits the sharing of guest information except in cases where a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena is present, or local law requires this information.”

The Washington attorney general’s office says the $12 million paid out by the chain will go towards the expenses of guests who were targeted by ICE.

Two other Motel 6 locations, in Phoenix, AZ, were accused in a lawsuit last year of giving guest information to ICE . The chain settled that suit as well.

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