Activists gathered outside the Motel 6 near 51st Avenue and McDowell Road in response to reports that Phoenix locations were tipping off ICE on undocumented guests.
The motel chain admitted that the Phoenix-area locations did provide lists of undocumented guests to immigration officials that led to at least 20 arrests since February.
Motel 6 said in a statement Thursday that this practice was only implemented on the local level and without the knowledge of senior management.
The rally was organized by members of the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus including local representatives Diego Espinoza (D-Tolleson), Mark Cardenas (D-Phoenix) and Athena Salman (D-Tempe) as well as other local civil rights groups.
Activists called for Motel 6 to fire the employees who allowed immigration officials to see their guest registry. The motel chain said in a statement that they will review their current practices and update company-wide guidelines.
Over the past several days, it was brought to our attention that certain local Motel 6 properties in the Phoenix-area were voluntarily providing daily guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As previously stated, this was undertaken at the local level without the knowledge of senior management. When we became aware of it, it was discontinued.
Moving forward, to help ensure that this does not occur again, we will be issuing a directive to every one of our more than 1,400 locations nationwide, making clear that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guest lists to ICE.
Additionally, to help ensure that our broader engagement with law enforcement is done in a manner that is respectful of our guests’ rights, we will be undertaking a comprehensive review of our current practices and then issue updated, company-wide guidelines.
Protecting the privacy and security of our guests are core values of our company. Motel 6 apologizes for this incident and will continue to work to earn the trust and patronage of our millions of loyal guests.
An ICE spokesperson released the following statement:
Due to operational security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not typically disclose or discuss specific information related to the source of its enforcement leads. 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. Private citizens who provide enforcement leads to ICE are not compensated for the information.
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 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, including those in the Phoenix area, have frequently been exploited by criminal organizations engaged in highly dangerous illegal enterprises, including human trafficking and human smuggling.
Local lawmakers are also reacting to the controversy.
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