Mo­tel 6 set­tles claim it helped ICE tar­get guests

The Charlotte Observer - - Front Page - BY LIND­SEY BEVER

Wash­ing­ton Post

Af­ter a na­tion­wide class-ac­tion law­suit against Mo­tel 6, the chain agreed to pay as much as $ 7.6 mil­lion to guests who said their pri­vate in­for­ma­tion was given to U.S. im­mi­gra­tion agents, ac­cord­ing to court records.

For­mer guests sued Mo­tel 6 over pri­vacy vi­o­la­tions ear­lier this year, al­leg­ing that the chain handed over their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion to U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment (ICE) agents, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

The law­suit came af­ter a 2017 Phoenix New Times re­port that ICE agents made at least 20 ar­rests at two Mo­tel 6 lo­ca­tions in Ari­zona.

Un­der the pro­posed set­tle­ment agree­ment, the ho­tel also agreed not to share guests’ per­sonal in­for­ma­tion with­out a war­rant or sub­poena, un­less nec­es­sary to pre­vent “a sig­nif­i­cant crime,” ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment.

“It’s very im­por­tant in our minds that Mo­tel 6 is putting in place poli­cies and pro­ce­dures that would pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing again,” Thomas Saenz, pres­i­dent and gen­eral coun­sel at the Mex­i­can Amer­i­can Le­gal De­fense and Ed­u­ca­tional Fund (MALDEF), told The Wash­ing­ton Post on Tues­day. MALDEF rep­re­sented the guests in the clas­s­ac­tion law­suit.

Mo­tel 6 and MALDEF said in a joint state­ment that the ho­tel has pro­hib­ited em­ploy­ees from shar­ing such in­for­ma­tion.

“Mo­tel 6 fully rec­og­nizes the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion and ac­cepts full re­spon­si­bil­ity for both com­pen­sat­ing those who were harmed and tak­ing the nec­es­sary steps to en­sure that we pro­tect the pri­vacy of our guests,” it said. The ho­tel chain did not, how­ever, ad­mit to any wrong­do­ing.

MALDEF filed the law­suit in Jan­uary on be­half of seven class rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ari­zona and one from Wash­ing­ton state.

It al­leged that em­ploy­ees at Mo­tel 6 lo­ca­tions in Ari­zona gave His­panic guests’ per­sonal in­for­ma­tion to agents from the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity and ICE with­out war­rants be­ing served.

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