Washington's attorney general is suing Motel 6, saying the budget hotel disclosed the personal information of thousands of guests to federal immigration authorities in violation of state law.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday that Motel 6's "actions are disturbing and they are unlawful." He says the motel divulged to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement the names, dates of birth, license plate numbers and room numbers of more than 9,000 guests at six locations throughout the state. He says at least six guests were detained.
Motel 6 released the following statement in response to the action taken by Ferguson:
In September, Motel 6 issued a directive to every one of our more than 1,400 locations, making it clear that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guests lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Motel 6 takes this matter very seriously, and we have and will continue to fully cooperate with the Office of the State Attorney General.
Ferguson says the company's actions violated the state's consumer protection law.
Motel 6 said in September that its employees in Phoenix would no longer work with ICE, but Ferguson says management knew employees in Washington were trained to give authorities information.
ICE spokesman Yasmeen Pitts O'Keefe said he's unable to disclose specific information relating "enforcement leads." He went on to explain that they receive tips from multiple sources.
The agency receives viable enforcement tips from a host of sources, including other law enforcement agencies, relevant databases, crime victims, and the general public via the agency's tip line and online tip form.
In carrying out their immigration enforcement mission, ICE deportation officers make arrests nationwide every day as part of the agency's ongoing efforts to ensure domestic security, public safety, and the integrity of our nation's immigration laws and borders. The agency's immigration enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven, prioritizing individuals who pose a risk to our communities. It's worth noting that hotels and motels have frequently been exploited by criminal organizations engaged in highly dangerous illegal enterprises, including human trafficking and human smuggling."
A spokesperson with the Attorney General's Office says they are unable to confirm nor deny that an investigation is underway, however, they can confirm that the state has not filed a lawsuit against Motel 6.
ABC15 has reached out to the Arizona Attorney General's office to see if Mark Brnovich is taking any action.