Motel 6 Settles Immigration Lawsuit

Motel 6 has elected to settle a possible US-wide class-action lawsuit, which alleged that it violated the privacy of guests of Hispanic origin by giving guest lists to federal immigration authorities to help law enforcement. The settlement, with eight plaintiffs of Hispanic ethnicity, including one from Washington State and seven from Arizona, was disclosed on Friday in a Phoenix federal court filing.

Motel 6 and the plaintiffs’ representatives, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), say that the accord would need the approval of the court and would also feature a consent decree, with more documentation expected to be provided by 15 August. On Tuesday, MALDEF lawyer Thomas Saenz said that details of the settlement would become public within the next couple of weeks.

Motel 6 released a statement saying that they are constructively cooperating with MALDEF to finalize a settlement. Private equity company, Blackstone Group, controls the Motel 6 chain, having purchased the brand back in 2012. MALDEF sued Motel 6 in January, alleging that its decision to hand over guest lists was unconstitutional and constituted racial discrimination and enabled law enforcement officials to arrest individuals without either warrants or even reasonable grounds to suspect that any crime had been committed.

The lawsuit came four months after the revelation by the Phoenix New Times that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 20 people at Arizona Motel 6s during the course of six months by using guest lists to identify people of certain national origins.