SEATTLE — Washington’s lawyer normal sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, alleging the nationwide funds chain disclosed the non-public data of 1000’s of its visitors to U.S. immigration authorities in violation of the state client safety legislation.
Lawyer Normal Bob Ferguson stated motel staff divulged the names, birthdates, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and room numbers of not less than 9,150 visitors to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement brokers with out a warrant. A minimum of six individuals have been detained on or close to motel property throughout a two-year interval.
Motel 6 was conscious that the brokers used the visitor registry data to single out visitors primarily based on their nationwide origin in violation of Washington state’s anti-discrimination legislation, the state’s lawsuit filed in King County Superior Courtroom alleged.
Ferguson stated not less than six Motel 6 areas within the state — all within the Puget Sound area and corporate-owned — supplied the data with out visitors’ data or consent. Washington’s Supreme Courtroom makes it clear that visitor registry data is non-public, he stated, and Motel 6 violated the legislation every time it gave out non-public data.
“In September, Motel 6 issued a directive to each considered one of our greater than 1,400 areas, making it clear that they’re prohibited from voluntarily offering every day visitors lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE),” the corporate stated in an emailed assertion.
“Motel 6 takes this matter very critically, and we now have and can proceed to completely co-operate with the Workplace of the State Lawyer Normal,” the corporate added.
A spokesman for immigration and customs enforcement couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
At one Motel 6 in Everett, north of Seattle, for instance, brokers visited early within the morning or late at evening and acquired a every day listing of all visitors staying on the location, Ferguson stated. The brokers would goal visitors with Latino-sounding names, he stated. The company would then determine if any of the visitors have been needed in reference to civil immigration points, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawyer normal’s workplace started investigating after information stories that Motel 6 employees at two Phoenix areas supplied visitor data to brokers who later arrested 20 individuals on immigration expenses.
On the time, Motel 6 stated in a tweet: “This was carried out on the native degree with out the data of senior administration. Once we turned conscious of it final week, it was discontinued.”
Ferguson stated the instances in Washington state exhibits that the follow was not remoted to the 2 Phoenix areas. “The corporate’s actions have been methodical. They skilled their new staff on how to do that,” Ferguson stated.
Motel 6 skilled its new staff to offer visitor lists to brokers once they requested for it, with out requiring the brokers to indicate a search warrant or possible trigger, the lawsuit alleged.
Between 2015 and 2017, 4 of six corporate-owned areas that supplied data to the federal company launched greater than 9,150 visitor names. That quantity is predicted to develop considerably, Ferguson stated. His workplace is wanting into whether or not 15 different Motel 6 areas that function as franchises divulged comparable non-public data. 5 areas didn’t disclose such data.
The state’s lawsuit seeks civil penalties of as much as $2,000 per violation.