Motel 6 will pay $12 million to settle a lawsuit by the Washington state attorney general over the lodging chain’s practice of handing over guest lists to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The company also committed to no longer provide guest information without a warrant, a policy that will be adopted nationally, prosecutors said.
It’s not the first time Motel 6 has faced legal claims for providing guest information to immigration authorities. In November, it agreed to pay up to $7.6 million to Hispanic guests to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated their privacy by sharing guest lists with ICE agents.
Motel 6 locations in Washington state provided personal information about their guests to ICE “on a daily basis without requiring a warrant,” according to a statement from the Washington attorney general’s office. In total, the motel chain shared information for about 80,000 guests without their knowledge or consent, the statement said.
“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,” a Motel 6 spokesperson said.
“Motel 6’s actions tore families apart and violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians,” said Washington AG Bob Ferguson. “Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests’ private information without a warrant.”
The repercussions of Motel 6’s actions hurt many families and led to the detainment of least nine Washingtonians, the statement said. In some cases, Motel 6 guests were deported or else suffered consequences such as losing their jobs after being detained, Ferguson said.