South Tacoma’s Motel 6 location was one of six cited in a lawsuit announced today by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The AG alleges that the national hotel chain has been voluntarily providing guest lists to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents routinely for at least two years, including names and private information of every guest at the hotel.
Ferguson began investigation Motel 6 locations in Washington after two in Arizona made national news for providing guests’ personal information to ICE. The chain admitted at least six of its Washington locations — Bellingham, North Everett, South Everett, South Seattle, SeaTac and South Tacoma — since 2015.
Investigators discovered that over a two-year period, four of the six locations released the information of more than 9,000 guests. The company provided no details regarding two of those six locations, and only partial information for the other four.
The suit asserts that Motel 6 violated the law every time it voluntary released an individual’s private information to ICE. A 2007 Washington state Supreme Court case established that guest registry information is private and that random searches of this information violates rights to privacy found in the Washington Constitution.
The practice led to the detention of at least six guests at the motel.
Ferguson argues that each time Motel 6 disclosed each guest’s name and information qualifies as a separate violation of the Consumer Protection Act, with civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation.