Motel 6: We aren’t sending customer lists to ICE anymore

Motel 6: We aren’t sending customer lists to ICE anymore
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Motel 6 announced it will stop sending customer lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Wednesday after its corporate office was made aware of the practice at some locations.

The company's announcement came just hours after the Phoenix New Times reported that at least two Arizona Motel 6 locations were sending guest lists to ICE agents every morning, prompting ICE sting operations at the businesses.

At least 20 undocumented immigrants have been arrested under this practice, the New Times reported.

“This was implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management,” Motel 6 said in a statement. "When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued."

 

The New Times reported that ICE agents performed "knock and talks" at the locations after receiving the guest lists, which means officers show up at the hotel without a warrant and knock on doors asking permission to enter. If they are refused, they come back with a warrant.

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"We send a report every morning to ICE — all the names of everybody that comes in," one front-desk clerk told the New Times. "Every morning at about 5 o'clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE."

A Phoenix-area immigration attorney also wrote the New Times in an email and reported that some of her clients "have heard (no telling how valid the info is) that ICE is paying $200 per person for the front-desk clerk to report."

In a statement to the newspaper, ICE refused to confirm the reports or how the agency gathers tips for its investigations.

“I wouldn’t be able to confirm how we are getting our information. Those are investigative techniques that we wouldn’t be able to talk about,” ICE spokeswoman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe said.

“If hypothetically we were somewhere — if we did administratively arrest some folks — that happens all the time. We conduct targeted enforcement operations every day.”

Motel 6 issued a more detailed statement on Thursday, saying that the company had instructed all locations that sending guest lists to ICE is prohibited.

"Moving forward, to help ensure that this does not occur again, we will be issuing a directive to every one of our more than 1,400 locations nationwide, making clear that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guest lists to ICE," wrote a spokesperson for Motel 6's corporate office.

"Protecting the privacy and security of our guests are core values of our company. Motel 6 apologizes for this incident and will continue to work to earn the trust and patronage of our millions of loyal guests," the statement added.