Newsmax, January 3, 2018
Washington’s attorney general sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging the national budget chain disclosed the private information of thousands of its guests to U.S. immigration authorities in violation of the state consumer protection law.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said motel employees divulged the names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and room numbers of at least 9,150 guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents without a warrant. At least six people were detained on or near motel property during a two-year period.
Motel 6 was aware that the agents used the guest registry information to single out guests based on their national origin in violation of Washington state’s anti-discrimination law, the state’s lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court alleged.
Ferguson said at least six Motel 6 locations in the state — all in the Puget Sound region and corporate-owned — provided the information without guests’ knowledge or consent. Washington’s Supreme Court makes it clear that guest registry information is private, he said, and Motel 6 violated the law each time it gave out private information.
At one Motel 6 in Everett, north of Seattle, for example, agents visited early in the morning or late at night and received a daily list of all guests staying at the location, Ferguson said. The agents would target guests with Latino-sounding names, he said. The agency would then figure out if any of the guests were wanted in connection with civil immigration issues, the lawsuit alleges.
Between 2015 and 2017, four of six corporate-owned locations that provided information to the federal agency released more than 9,150 guest names. That number is expected to grow significantly, Ferguson said. His office is looking into whether 15 other Motel 6 locations that operate as franchises divulged similar private information. Five locations did not disclose such information.