Motel 6 says employees won’t call immigration on guests
PHOENIX (AP) — Motel 6 says its employees in Phoenix will no longer work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents following news reports that its workers were providing guests’ names to agents who later arrested 20 of the people on immigration charges.
In a tweet about reports first published in the Phoenix New Times, Motel 6 said Wednesday: “This was implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management. When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued.”
Employees at a Motel 6 near a stretch of other budget motels, discount stores and fast food restaurants — refused to answer questions Thursday and referred all queries to corporate headquarters.
The news that Motel 6 workers in Phoenix were aiding ICE agents immediately thrust the chain into the national immigration debate, with some detractors complaining about its vague and tepid statement.
Social media exploded with criticism and satire aimed at the budget motel chain, with some playing off its slogan “We’ll leave the light on for you.”
“They’ll leave the light on — for ICE and police,” Cecilia Wang, national deputy director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a tweet.
The ACLU of Arizona tweeted separately: “Will new policy reflect this ‘discountined’ practice, @ motel6? We look forward to reading it.”
The hashtag #BoycottMotel6 began circulating while Latino political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz drew and posted on social media a sketch of a Motel 6 with a sign reading: “Immigration Detention Camp.”
Longtime Motel 6 pitchman Tom Bodett sent a tweet supporting the chain, saying: “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” and included the chain’s statement. Some of Bodett’s followers criticized him and called on him to slam the chain.
It’s not the first time the chain has come under fire for providing guest lists to authorities.