Motel 6 settles lawsuit regarding guest data given to ICE
Early in November, Motel 6 agreed to pay up to $8.9 million to settle a lawsuit filed against the motel chain after the personal information of Latino guests at two Motel 6 locations in Arizona were leaked to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). According to a New York Times article, those two Motel 6 locations regularly handed over guest information without warrants, which resulted in some guests being detained or deported.
Motel 6 is owned by G6 Hospitality, a company based in Texas. However, senior management did not know this practice was occurring, the New York Times article said. After the practice came to light, Motel 6 introduced a policy at its locations nationwide, prohibiting information about guests from being freely given to law enforcement.
Of the total $8.9 million Motel 6 agreed to pay, $7.6 million will go to the guests whose personal information was released. The remaining money covers various legal and administration fees. The settlement also requires the hotel chain to create a policy requiring employees to only release guest information to ICE if an agent has a warrant or subpoena, or if the release of information will prevent significant crime.
A similar lawsuit has also been filed against Motel 6 in Washington state where at least six Motel 6 locations were regularly giving ICE guest lists. However, that lawsuit has not yet concluded.
You have rights regardless of your immigration status
Deportation can be a terrifying experience. This is why it is important to be aware of your rights, which you can exercise if you are stopped by an ICE agent.
You have the right to remain silent. If you speak, your words may be used against you, so it is often your best option to tell the agent that you will remain silent.
You have the right to an attorney. If you are being questioned, you can tell the agent that you would like to speak with an attorney and the questioning should stop. You should also consider contacting an attorney before signing anything.
You also have the right to due process. This means you have the right to have your case go before a court.
Facing deportation can be a heartbreaking and confusing experience. The people who were involved in the Arizona Motel 6 lawsuit will be receiving some of that case’s settlement money, but most deportation cases are not tied to a class-action lawsuit like that. By knowing and exercising your rights, you can give yourself your best chance at avoiding deportation.