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Motel 6 Being Sued For Sharing Latino Sounding Names With ICE

Terry Ross/Flickr/Modified

Over 9,000 names with personal information were illegally turned over to ICE upon request by Motel 6 employees.

Several Motel 6 locations in two states have engaged in the practice of handing over guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the Associated Press, and now chain is being sued by Washington's attorney general.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said motel employees divulged the names, birthdates, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers and room numbers of at least 9,150 guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant. At least six people were detained on or near motel property during a two-year period.

Per Ferguson, six corporate-owned locations in the state supplied the information with full knowledge that ICE agents were singling out names based on national origin.

At one Motel 6 in Everett, north of Seattle, for example, agents visited early in the morning or late at night and received a daily list of all guests staying at the location, Ferguson said. The agents would target guests with Latino-sounding names, he said. The agency would then figure out if any of the guests were wanted in connection with civil immigration issues, the lawsuit alleges.

Similar incidents occurred in Phoenix, Arizona, where at least two locations also turned guest information over to ICE. Upon investigation, Ferguson determined that new employees were trained by Motel 6 to handle ICE requests in this manner.

Between 2015 and 2017, four of six corporate-owned locations that provided information to the federal agency released more than 9,150 guest names. That number is expected to grow significantly, Ferguson said. His office is looking into whether 15 other Motel 6 locations that operate as franchises divulged similar private information. Five locations did not disclose such information.

The state's lawsuit seeks civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.

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