Two branches of a chain motel in Phoenix, Arizona, have been sharing guest information with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), resulting in at least 20 arrests since February, according to a report by a local paper.
Last week's report by the Phoenix New Times says that employees at two locations of corporate-owned Motel 6 said it was “standard practice” to share guest information with ICE.
Motel 6 responded officially Wednesday, saying that the practice was “implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management.
"When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued,” Motel 6 said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Court documents acquired by the Phoenix New Times show that 20 arrests made by ICE between February and August in the capital of the southwestern U.S. state occurred at only one of two Motel 6 locations. The total number of arrests made using tips from Motel 6 staff could be higher, as many court documents include only vague information about the arrest location.
A front desk clerk at one of the locations in question told the New Times that the desk sent the names of all current guests to ICE every morning.
“Every morning at about 5 o'clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE,” the clerk said.
ICE declined to comment on whether the agency reviews hotel guest lists.
Phoenix Police department spokesman Jonathan Howard did, however, confirm to the New Times that “on occasion and through informal contacts” a number of local hotels had shared guest information with law enforcement.
Motel 6 has been criticized in the past, notably by the ACLU, for sharing guest information with law enforcement agencies. In 2015, after a string of crimes at a Motel 6 in Rhode Island, the chain announced a change in policy that would allow for its motels to share guest information with law enforcement.