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Motel 6 “Leaves the Light On” — For ICE

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Locations in Arizona notified immigration authorities about undocumented guests

Motel 6 employees at two locations in Arizona were reporting undocumented guests to ICE, according to the Phoenix New Times, leading to the arrest of at least 20 people between February and August.

A front-desk clerk who spoke to the New Times was chillingly blase about the practice, saying that:

We send a report every morning to ICE — all the names of everybody that comes in. Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.

The Motel 6 chain has released a statement admitting that this happened — but saying so little else that some immigrants and advocates — like the ACLU — have demanded more transparency from the company, while others have threatened a boycott.

The practice was “implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management,” Motel 6 wrote on Twitter and Facebook. “When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued.”

There was no word on whether the offending employees, who likely volunteered to do the reporting, had been terminated, or whether official company policy would be updated. As a follow-up story from the Phoenix New Times questioned:

• If this was something that was “implemented at the local level,” then why did local management tell us to get in touch with the corporate PR team when we asked about it?

• What precisely did the old policy entail, and what aspects of it have been discontinued? If an ICE agent shows up without a warrant and asks to take a look at that night’s guest list, will the front desk clerk give it to them? Will ICE be allowed to conduct surveillance in and around the motel? Likewise, if an individual Motel 6 employee alerts ICE about a guest who they suspect to be present in the country illegally, will they be disciplined?

• Why exactly was Motel 6 collaborating with ICE in the first place?

In one reported case, Manuel Rodriguez-Juarez, a 33-year-old undocumented landscaper, checked into a Motel 6 only to have ICE show up a few hours later. He has been in immigration detention ever since — all because he stayed at the wrong place for the night while being undocumented.

The two Motel 6 locations are in predominantly Latino neighborhoods, near Mexican bakeries and restaurants. ICE agents reportedly dropped by around once every two weeks, and numerous times without a warrant.

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