Employees of Motel 6 in Phoenix area reported guests to immigration officials
The Motel 6 budget lodging chain is commonly associated with its longtime slogan of welcoming hospitality: “We’ll leave the light on.”
But for immigration attorneys in the Phoenix area, the motel chain has become the site of a troubling string of immigration arrests. And according to a report published Wednesday by the Phoenix New Times, employees at two Motel 6 locations may have been sending guest information directly to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
After the story published, Motel 6 released a statement saying the practice was “implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management.”
“When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued,” Motel 6 wrote in the statement posted on Twitter and Facebook.
Immigration agents arrested at least 20 people at two Motel 6 locations between February and August, dropping by about every two weeks, the New Times reported. The actual number is likely to be even higher, the publication reported, because several court documents contained ambiguous information about arrest locations.
A spokesperson for ICE’s Phoenix division told the New Times that she was unable to confirm whether the agency routinely reviews hotel guest lists or investigates tips from Motel 6 employees. “Those are investigative techniques that we wouldn’t be able to talk about,” she said.
The revelations in the New Times article prompted ire from immigration advocates across social media, and praise from some supporters of President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown. It also stirred a debate over privacy concerns and left many wondering: If some Motel 6 locations are tipping off ICE, could other motels nationwide be following suit? Others suggested the report could indicate racial profiling on behalf of motel employees who report certain guests to ICE.
Radio host Tom Bodett has been the brand spokesman for the Motel 6 chain for over 25 years, according to his website.
On Wednesday, Bodett tweeted: “If you’ve been vexed by the situation with motel6 in Phoenix. Here is the response from their HQ. I had faith this was the case.” Some of his followers called on him to condemn the chain.
The Phoenix New Times reported that immigration agents arrested at least 20 people at two Phoenixarea Motel 6 locations earlier this year. They stopped by the locations about every two weeks.