Motel 6-ICE guest data sharing case settled for $10 million

Motel 6 ICE guest data–The Motel 6 chain this week has agreed to pay $10 million dollars to settle a lawsuit against the company for sharing guest data with ICE. The proposed settlement, outlined in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, calls for Motel 6 to abide by a three-year consent decree to not give guest information to immigration authorities without a warrant or subpoena and to provide training on the issue to workers.

Earlier this year, Motel 6 had also settled and agreed to pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit in which the state of Washington accused it of improperly providing names of guests to immigration authorities for two years, said the state attorney general.

Due to the information provided by Motel 6, agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) opened investigations specifically targeting people with Latino names, said Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Some people who stayed at seven Motel 6 facilities in the state were detained or deported, he added. “Proceedings of Motel 6 caused the separation of families and violated the right to privacy of tens of thousands of Washingtonians,” Ferguson said in a statement.

“Our resolution holds Motel 6 responsible for illegally handing over private guest information without any court order.”

Kara Colety, spokeswoman for Motel 6, said that the company will comply with its policy of respecting the privacy of its guests, which prohibits the provision of information about these persons, except in cases where an order or judicial summons is required, or where it is provided by local law.

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“The hardest thing was when the bus got started. A moment of silence and everyone started crying and saying, I’m going to my country, what are my children going to do?” Explained Wendy Armas, who was arrested during the recent operation in North Texas. 

The company has also put in place controls in order to guarantee the supervision and compliance at corporate level in cases of petitions presented by police agencies. “The security and protection of our guests, which includes protecting their information, is our top priority, and we are pleased to have reached an agreement on the matter,” he added.

The agreement covers all Motel 6 establishments in the United States.

The company also agreed to train its employees to protect the privacy of guests, Ferguson said.

In another lawsuit filed in Arizona, the company agreed in November last year to pay $7.6 million to Latino guests who accused employees of sharing private information with immigration authorities.

In Washington State, Ferguson noted that Motel 6 provided ICE with daily information on a total of 80,000 guests without a court order, from 2015 to 2017.

In one case, a man from Seattle who stayed at a Motel 6 near SeaTac was stopped in a parking lot by ICE agents while he wrapping Christmas presents for his four children. He was deported several days later, Ferguson said.

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Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has launched a massive crackdown on what illegal immigration, what he refers to as an invasion. He wants to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico to prevent the entry of illegals but has also conducted the deportation of millions. The president recently announced that his administration was going to deport people by the millions in the coming weeks.

However, under an agreement reached earlier this month, Mexico has agreed to take in immigrants going the United States to seek asylum while their petition is being heard by US courts. The agreement also includes the deployment of 6,000 men from its National Guard on the border with Guatemala to regulate illegal immigration.

The US Congress approved Thursday an emergency $ 4.6 billion to respond to the migration crisis on the Mexican border. Several tragedies involving children have headlines around the world. Under pressure, the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had to give in and could not get the provisions she wanted to add.

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Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.