Motel 6 to Pay Millions in Settlement for Giving Guest Lists to ICE
Latino guests were the main targets, and individual checks aren't nearly enough for the "inconvenience."
Motel 6 has agreed to pay at least $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after multiple locations of the hotel chain surrendered guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Divulging those lists led to arrests and deportations of an as-yet-unknown number of hotel guests. Not only was it an invasion of privacy but a blatant violation of their human rights.
G6 Hospitality LLC is the parent company of Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands in the United States and Canada. CEO Rob Palleschi leads an executive leadership team with no Latinos. G6 Hospitality has never participated in DiversityInc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity competition.
The case was settled in July, but details were not made public until this week. The agreement, which still needs to be approved by a federal judge, calls for Motel 6 to pay money directly to affected guests and also to better manage guests' secured information.
An anonymous employee at the hotel told the Phoenix New Times in fall 2017: "We send a report every morning to ICE — all the names of everybody that comes in ... we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE."
In a questionable admission of guilt, Motel 6 acknowledged that guest lists were given to authorities but denied that senior management was aware of the practice. The company then said it gave a directive to employees to no longer shares guest lists with ICE.
Reporter Antonia Farzan, who helped break the story, also commented: "With all of these cases we looked at, the person didn't have any outstanding warrant. There weren't any complaints. There was no sign that they were violating other laws while they were staying at the motel.
"In other words, they weren't bothering anybody. They had paid to rent a room. So it's hard to see what problem it was causing for the motel to have them as a customer."
Months later, other Motel 6 locations, specifically in Washington State, admitted to participating in the shady practice as well.
"The hotel turned over the guest list of everybody staying at the hotel. So thousands of individuals had their names turned over to ICE," Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson told NPR in January.
"And according to our interviews with employees at Motel 6, ICE agents would circle the names that looked Latino-sounding and ran those names through a database and then would detain individuals based on those random checks."
Lawsuits soon followed.
The lawsuit was filed by MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
MALDEF and Motel 6 issued a joint statement, which said in part:
"Motel 6 fully recognizes the seriousness of the situation and accepts full responsibility for both compensating those who were harmed and taking the necessary steps to ensure that we protect the privacy of our guests.
"As part of the agreement, Motel 6 has implemented additional controls to protect private information and enhance corporate oversight in cases where law enforcement requests information, including when lawful requests are made."
Motel 6 will pay $50 per guest and up to $1,000,000, if their information was given to authorities; $1,000 in damages and up to $1,000,000 to guests who were interrogated; and at least $7,500 per guest, up to $5,600,000 to those put in immigration-removal proceedings. The guests would have stayed at the location between Feb. 1, 2017, and Nov. 2, 2018.
How do you put a price on peace of mind though?
The light sentence given to the officer who killed McDonald, "suggests to us that there are no laws on the books for a Black man that a white man is bound to honor," said his great-uncle.
Hours of testimony at Jason Van Dyke's sentencing on Friday ended in shock for one family, and relief and happiness for the other.
"Obviously we've had a second incident in several years," University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly said. "It shows that there must be something systemic. We have work to do."
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is working to stop wheelchairs from getting damaged during air travel.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is leading the charge for better airline management of customers' motorized wheelchairs. Duckworth has been confined to a wheelchair since her helicopter was shot down in Iraq and she lost both of her legs.
President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday that said all furloughed workers would receive back pay once the government reopens. However, the Trump administration has ordered states not to provide unemployment coverage to federal workers who have been required to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday the U.S. Department of Labor sent states a letter with that mandate, according to NPR. The Department of Labor said the roughly 420,000 federal employees who are "essential" cannot file for unemployment as they are "generally ineligible."
It also reported 10,454 initial claims by federal workers for the week that ended Jan. 5, doubling the previous week's figure. Thousands more have applied since, state officials said.
Newsom said the decision by the Department of Labor's decision was "jaw-dropping."
"So, the good news is, we're going to do it, and shame on them," he said.
"From a moral perspective, there is no debate on this issue and we will blow back aggressively on the Department of Labor."
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports unemployment claims for one week during the shutdown are up 600 percent from the same time last year. The state has over 245,000 federal employees.
Newsom encouraged people to continue to apply while the state figured out how to get the money. He estimated benefits that would last up to 26 weeks and provided a few hundred extra dollars a month. He said he knows it doesn't fix everything, but hopefully it helps.
His message to Trump: "Let us states do the job you can't seem to do yourself."
Some state officials said they had asked utilities and other companies to extend mercy to federal employees, and the federal Office of Personnel Management published sample letters that furloughed employees could send to creditors to ask for patience.
Texas has received more than 2,900 claims from federal workers since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, while Ohio is approaching 700. Kansas reported 445 filings, and Alabama was closing in on 500. Montana said it had logged almost 1,500.
Trump tweeted on Friday that he would be making a "major announcement" on Saturday about the government shutdown.
I will be making a major announcement concerning the Humanitarian Crisis on our Southern Border, and the Shutdown, tomorrow afternoon at 3 P.M., live from the @WhiteHouse.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
A senior administration official told CNN that Trump plans to offer Democrats another proposal to end the shutdown.
Reader Question: How are people you know that are furloughed workers surviving?
The dance team's choreographer told Camille Sturdivant that her skin was "too dark" to perform because she "clashed" with uniforms.
Camille Sturdivant has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Blue Valley School District for the abuse she was subjected to as a member of the high school dance team.
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A Black toddler was subjected to having her hair pulled and being pushed by the employee.