On Wednesday (September 13), Phoenix New Times reported that employees at two corporate-owned Motel 6 locations in Phoenix are regularly reporting the names of people who rent rooms to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“We send a report every morning to ICE—all the names of everybody that comes in,” a front desk clerk told the local outlet. “Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.”
A review of court records revealed that ICE made at least 20 arrests at the two motels, showing up every two weeks from February through August.
ICE spokesperson Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe told the New Times that she could not confirm the clerk’s admission, saying, "Those are investigative techniques that we wouldn’t be able to talk about." She went on to say, “If hypothetically we were somewhere—if we did administratively arrest some folks—that happens all the time. We conduct targeted enforcement operations every day.”
Motel 6 posted a statement after the article was released, saying that, “This was implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management. When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued."
Officials later released a more detailed statement, saying that it will issue a directive to all locations prohibiting this practice:
Statement by Motel 6 pic.twitter.com/zHGU6HqjPV
— Motel 6 (@motel6) September 14, 2017
But this isn’t the first time the motel chain’s actions have raised concerns about privacy. In 2015, Providence Journal reported that corporate-level managers agreed to provide police in Warwick, Rhode Island, with a daily guest list, which was then used to check for outstanding warrants. The Washington Post reports that the practice was halted after 16 days due to legal concerns.