Motel 6 to Settle Lawsuit for Allegedly Giving Latino Guest Info to ICE

By Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on July 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Summers in Arizona are brutal, where temperatures exceed 100 almost daily, reaching heights that can fry an egg on a sidewalk. If locals don't have air conditioning, they may be tempted to stay at a local motel to escape the heat. But, if they're staying at a Motel 6, they may be in for another type of heat ...

In yet another Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid targeting Latinos, Motel 6 settled a discrimination and privacy lawsuit in which guests claimed that their location and personal information were shared with ICE.

In that lawsuit, the motels shared with ICE the names and location of eight Latino guests staying in the hotels to escape the summer heat, in violation of the hotel's privacy agreement with guests. This disclosure led to the arrest of seven guests, and at least one was deported. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but this is not the first time Latinos and Motel 6 and ICE have shaken things up.

Not Nice, ICE

In January of 2018, the state of Washington sued Motel 6, claiming ICE officials were going to at least six motel locations without warrants and asking for guests lists. In that suit, over 9,150 guests claimed their privacy rights were violated. Hotel receptionists would give ICE agents a list of guests with "Latino-sounding" last names, along with a form to sign confirming the lists' receipt.

The list would apparently include the guests' driver's license number, room number, date of birth and license plate number. ICE agents would go back to the office, verify any necessary information, and return to the hotel to place arrests. Evidently Motel 6 is keeping the lights on, like a moth to a flame.

They can be. Generally, ICE officials cannot raid a private residence without a warrant. ICE can generate its own arrest warrants, usually when those targeted are already court-ordered to be deported. But only a court can issue a search warrant. In this case, they needed a search warrant, since there was no reason to believe anything illegal was going on, just because the guests were hispanic. ICE must also bring with them a translator so that the targets understand the situation and their rights.

If you feel you or someone you know has been the victim of an illegal raid, or if you just want to understand your rights, contact an Immigration Lawyer, who can review these details with you.

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