Motel chain gets sued for giving guest lists to ICE agents

| Nov 16, 2018 | US Immigration Law

There are certain privacy rights that we may not question. One example: the ability to stay at a hotel without the management reporting your presence to the government. Unfortunately, a popular hotel chain violated this right and wrongfully reported guests within its hotel chains. These guests did not do anything wrong. The hotel completed the reports as part of a business policy.

What exactly did the hotel do? Hotel officials allegedly gave guest lists to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. According to a recent report by National Public Radio, the lists led to the arrest and deportation of an “as-yet-unknown number of hotel guests.”

Who sued? The legal action was a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of those who were impacted by the business practice. The hotel would conduct an audit every morning and send a list of hotel guests to ICE agents.

This list was then used by the government to check for any “Latino-sounding” names. Agents would allegedly run the names through a database and conduct “random checks” on guests. This would lead to additional questioning and interviews, escalating to deportation proceedings for some guests

What happened? The parties reached a settlement agreement. The government has agreed to provide payment to customers who stayed at the impacted motels and wrongfully had their information shared with government agents. Guests could receive $1,000 if the information led to questioning by government agents and up to $5.6 million if the information resulted in deportation proceedings.

What can others learn from this case? The case serves as a reminder to those who are attempting to navigate the immigration system in the United States. It is a complicated system. An attorney experienced in these matters can review your case and help determine the best course towards achieving your immigration goals.