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Lawsuit: Motel 6 violated Consumer Protection Law by sharing hotel guest information with ICE

January 4, 2018  |  Posted by: Michael Falzarano
Lawsuit: Motel 6 violated Consumer Protection Law by sharing hotel guest information with ICE

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A lawsuit filed by the state of Washington accuses Motel 6 of providing the personal information of guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in violation of the Consumer Protection Law.

In court documents filed in King County Superior Court, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said over the course of a two-year-period, Motel 6 “voluntarily” provided ICE officials lists of their guest-registry “on a routine basis,” which allowed agents to locate and arrest suspected undocumented immigrants.

Ferguson’s office launched an investigation in September after news reports revealed that employees at two Motel 6 locations in the Phoenix area had voluntarily provided ICE access to guest information without a warrant, resulting in the arrests of 20 people suspected of being in the country illegally.

“The lawsuit filed today in court establishes that Motel 6 committed thousands of violations of the Consumer Protection Law and hundreds of violations of the Washington Discrimination Act,” the attorney general’s office said.

Additionally, Ferguson said the company admitted hotel staff in six locations in the Seattle area had provided ICE agents with information which resulted in the arrests of at least six people during the two-year period, The Seattle Times reported.

The lawsuit alleges the hotel chain provided confidential information of over 9,000 guests of mostly Latino origin which included full names, driving license and vehicle registration numbers, along with social security numbers.

When the allegations first surfaced, the Texas-based company released a statement maintaining the issue was a local problem and that staff at the Motel 6 locations provided the information without the expressed knowledge or consent from upper management.

“Since last September, employees have received a memorandum, strictly prohibiting any employee from voluntarily facilitating their customer lists to the authorities,” Motel 6 reps said in the statement.

“Motel 6 takes this matter very seriously, and we have and will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of the State Attorney General,” company reps added.

However, Fergusen refuted the hotel chain’s assertion in court filings.

“This information was provided on an almost daily basis by some motels without the ICE agents having provided any documentation or evidence of reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a search warrant for the requested guest registry information,” the lawsuit said. “Motel 6 was aware that the ICE agents used the guest registry information to identify and single out guests based on national origin, including guests with Latino-sounding names.”

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