After one of its locations was accused of tipping off Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents about patrons who may have been in the U.S. illegally staying at its locations, Motel 6
The motel chain confirmed on Twitter that company employees were providing daily guest lists to ICE.
"Over the past several days, it was brought to our attentio 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," the statement read.
Motel 6 added that the company is issuing a directive to all of its locations that sending ICE daily lists of guests staying at Motel 6s is "prohibited."
At least 20 arrests were made by ICE agents at two Phoenix Motel 6s between February and August, the Phoenix News Times reported. The motels were located in regions with a high Latino population.
Robert McWhirter, an attorney for a former guest of the motel, Jose Renteria Alvarado, said the business shared its guest logs with the agents, KPHO reported. Alvarado was arrested in June while staying at the motel and could face deportation.
"I imagine what went on here is they probably took a look at the names on the guest registry and compared that to a database of people that have been deported," McWhirter told KPHO.
Alvarado has been deported once previously due to a criminal record, and could now face six months in prison and then be deported.
Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE, told KPHO she could not disclose where the agents get their information.
"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…” Kice said.
She added: "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."
Motel 6's statement said the company apologizes for the incident, and that it will be reviewing and reissuing updates company guidelines.