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Motel 6 will pay $12 million after several locations gave their guest lists to ICE

Posted at 12:50 PM, Apr 07, 2019

WASHINGTON — Motel 6 will pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit that said several Washington state locations gave their guest lists to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the state attorney general's office.

Between 2015 and 2017, seven Motel 6 locations in the state shared approximately 80,000 guests' personal information with ICE without requiring a warrant, Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office said in a news release this week .

The guest lists contained private information of all guests at the hotel, violating their expectation of privacy.

The hotel chain's disclosures "resulted in ICE's targeted investigation of many guests with Latino-sounding names," the statement said. Motel 6's actions led to "significant harmful consequences, including the detention and deportation of many guests and the suffering of their families."

The hotel chain admitted during the attorney general's investigation that at least six of its Washington state locations shared guests' information with ICE, according to the news release. The investigation revealed a seventh location also gave information to immigration authorities.

"Motel 6's actions tore families apart and violate the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians," Ferguson said in the statement. "Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests' private information without a warrant."

"Any other business that tries to violate Washingtonians' right to privacy can expect to hear from my office," he added.

The attorney general's office said the $12 million would go towards monetary damages for the 80,000 guests whose information was given to federal immigration authorities.

A Motel 6 spokesperson confirmed in a statement it had reached a settlement agreement, and said it would "continue to enforce its guest privacy policy, which prohibits the sharing of guest information except in cases where a judicially enforceable warrant or subpoena is present, or local law requires this information."

"The safety and security of our guests, which includes protecting guest information, is our top priority, and we are pleased to be able to reach resolution in this matter."

Ferguson's office filed the lawsuit in January 2018 after two Motel 6 locations in Arizona were accused of giving guests' information to federal immigration agents.

The chain reached a tentative settlement agreement in that case last summer.