Councilmembers M. Lorena González (Citywide, Pos. 9) and Teresa Mosqueda (Citywide, Pos. 8) issued the following joint-statement in response to Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court suing Motel 6 for sharing guest information with the federal government’s Department of Homeland Security for over 9,000 Motel 6 guests. As a result of this voluntary action by Motel 6 management, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) agents detained six individuals in a place of public accommodation in apparent violation of Washington’s Law Against Discrimination:
“This is not the first time that the Motel 6 corporation has shared confidential guest information with the federal government, and without the consent of guests. In Arizona, Motel 6 was reported to share guest information with the federal government. Motel 6 assured authorities it was a local practice that would be discontinued. But we now know this is not true of both corporate and franchise-owned locations in Washington State. The Attorney General’s investigation has shown that at least six locations in Western Washington – Bellingham, Tacoma, and two locations in SeaTac (known as “South Seattle” and “SeaTac”) and Everett (“North Everett” and “South Everett”) – have willingly shared information with I.C.E. agents. This violates rights guaranteed by Washington State’s Constitution to everyone, regardless of status.
“While we do not know the identity of the six detained individuals, we know that Seattle is home to thousands of immigrants, including undocumented immigrants and families of mixed-immigration status. Seattle immigrants may seek to stay at a Motel 6 to flee domestic violence or avoid sleeping outside. Those individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy and the practice of cooperating with I.C.E. is categorically wrong and exploitive. As a Welcoming City, we are outraged by the blatantly discriminatory act of trolling guest information for Spanish surnames and for the disregard of the privacy of thousands of Motel 6 guests who did not consent to sharing their information with a third party.
“Seattle continues to stand with our region’s immigrant community and recognize that news of these practices may have a chilling effect on immigrants seeking refuge in an affordable motels in or outside of the Seattle area.
“This is an important reminder to our immigrant communities and their allies that our best defense to protect immigrant communities is to become a U.S. Citizen, attend a Know Your Rights training, and learn what to do if I.C.E. knocks on your (or your neighbor’s) door. Seattle’s Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs will hold Seattle United for Immigrants & Refugees Mega Workshop on Saturday, February 3, 2018, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm to provide free legal citizenship assistance and legal consultations.”
NOTE: If you believe you are witnessing an ICE raid, please call the Rapid Response Hotline at 1-844-RAID-REP (1-844-724-3737). If you are in need of immigration legal services and cannot pay for them, the Seattle-King County Immigrant Legal Defense Network may be able to help.