Checking into a Motel 6 in Washington could get undocumented immigrants checked out of the country, according to allegations from state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
The state is suing Motel 6, alleging that the budget lodging chain routinely gives guests’ personal data to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Ferguson filed the lawsuit Wednesday morning in King County Superior Court.
Ferguson’s office is aware of six locations in Washington that have been cooperating with ICE for the past two years. ICE detained at least six people based on information provided by Motel 6, according to the complaint. The lawsuit claims Motel 6 is violating Washington’s Consumer Protection Act and a state discrimination law.
According to the complaint, Motel 6 locations provided full guest lists of everyone staying there. ICE agents circled hispanic-sounding names on guest registry and ran them through a database, leading to several detentions.
“Motel 6 discriminated against their guests who were paying to stay at their hotel,” Ferguson said during a press conference Wednesday. “A business cannot excuse itself from blame when it knows that its actions will lead to certain groups being targeted.”
Motel 6 turned over room numbers, names, guest identification numbers, dates of birth, license plate numbers, and drivers license numbers of guests, according to the AG’s investigation. Ferguson does not believe his office has determined the full scope of guest data sharing from all 26 Motel 6 locations across Washington.
“Motel 6 told the federal government where thousands of people were sleeping any particular night,” Ferguson told the press. He added, “we all instinctively feel that where we sleep at night is private.”
This isn’t the first time Motel 6 has been exposed for sharing guest data with ICE. In September, several locations in Phoenix were exposed for voluntarily providing guest lists to ICE, often on a daily basis.
In September, Motel 6’s parent company, G6 Hospitality, told Bloomberg that guest data sharing “was implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management.” G6 said the practice was discontinued when the parent company became aware of it last fall.
Ferguson’s team does not know whether Motel 6 locations in Washington continued to provide guests lists to ICE after G6 announced it would discontinue the practice in September.
The Washington lawsuit is seeking to enjoin Motel 6 from providing guest data to ICE going forward and seeking damages for the thousands of Washingtonians allegedly effected, up to $2,000 per violation. Ferguson is encouraging Washington residents who are concerned they were negatively impacted by Motel 6’s practices to contact his office.
Continue reading for the full complaint from Ferguson’s office.