Migrants’ rights group searches for victims of discrimination and privacy violations
(August 28, 2019) Individuals who rented a room at a Motel 6 in the state of Washington between 2015 and 2017 may be eligible to participate in a financial settlement to compensate them for discrimination and privacy violations.
Employees at seven Motel 6 locations in Washington State voluntarily shared guest registry information, such as names, driver’s license numbers, and birthdates, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) without a warrant — violating their guests’ privacy and Washington law. ICE would circle Latino-sounding names, leading ICE to question, arrest and even deport guests.
Over 100,000 guests are entitled to receive restitution from the $12 million USD settlement the Washington Attorney General’s Office (AGO) negotiated with Motel 6 to resolve the lawsuit. In order to receive compensation, individuals must submit a claim, which does not require guests to disclose their immigration status, by December 31, 2019.
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. (CDM), a binational migrants’ rights organization, is working with the Washington Attorney General’s Office as one of the claims administrators in the case. The organization is encouraging individuals who may qualify to come forward. CDM was hired to conduct outreach in the United States and in Mexico and investigate claims of guests who may have suffered severe consequences and harms, including questioning, arrest or deportation, as a result of this breach.
“Lives were permanently damaged, and families were torn apart. These egregious violations against equity, dignity and privacy have no place in our communities,” said Evy Peña, CDM’s Communications Director. “Our goal is to make sure that every guest whose rights were violated — regardless of immigration status or where they are — gets justice.”
The amount victims receive will vary depending on the extent of the harm that occurred as a result of having their private information shared with ICE. Even if Motel 6 only shared their name and private guest information, and no other harm occurred, victims may be eligible for recovery for that violation of their privacy. If additional harm occurred, including questioning, detention or deportation, victims may be eligible for additional recovery.
“Don’t think twice about it — submit your claims to demonstrate that this is wrong and we shall not tolerate this,” said Ramón Flores, a claimant and Motel 6 guest who was deported after his data was given to ICE. “We’re all human beings; we are worth the same and deserve respect. The time has come: when justice comes, it comes. We must come together and become stronger as a community.”
“Motel 6 violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians without their knowledge or consent, and paid $12 million to avoid facing my legal team in trial,” said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “We want to ensure everyone whose privacy was violated by Motel 6’s unlawful conduct receives some restitution, which is why we’re encouraging eligible individuals to file claims.”
As part of the settlement, Motel 6 will no longer hand over guest information without a warrant or other lawful basis and train their employees accordingly. The Washington Attorney General’s Office will monitor Motel 6’s policies and training for the next three years.
Motel 6 guests who believe they may be victims are encouraged to visit www.WashingtonMotel6Settlement.com or call 1-877-307-7268 in the US, 01-800-681-6519 from Mexico or WhatsApp +1 414-708-0437.
There are seven Motel 6 locations in Washington State where the privacy violations are alleged to have occurred.
Motel 6 Everett North
10006 Evergreen Way
Everett, WA 98204
Motel 6 Everett South
224 128th Street SW
Everett, WA 98204
Motel 6 Seattle South
20651 Military Road S.
Seattle, WA 98198
Motel 6 Seattle Airport
16500 Pacific Highway S.
Seattle, WA 98188
Motel 6 Seattle Sea-Tac Airport South
18900 47th Avenue S.
Seattle, WA 98188
Motel 6 Tacoma South
1811 S. 76th Street
Tacoma, WA 98408
(Guests who stayed between January 29, 2017 to March 11, 2017 only)
Motel 6 Bellingham
3701 Byron Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225
(Photo: Kellydna via Flickr Creative Commons)