Employees at the two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix told the Phoenix New Times that it was common practice at the chain to share guest information with ICE. If true, this would mean that an American motel company is willingly referring paying customers to a ruthlessly overzealous deportation force that was recently accused by the ACLU of detainee abuse.
Neither ICE nor the Motel 6 corporation provided the paper with comment on whether or not that was the case, but New Times found that between February and August, ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at Motel 6 locations in Phoenix, which are both located in predominately Latino neighborhoods.
The story focuses on the experience of Manuel Rodriguez-Juarez, a 33-year old landscaper and undocumented immigrant who checked into Motel 6 after a fight with his girlfriend and was subsequently thrown in an immigration detention center by ICE. Rodriguez-Juarez told New Times that when asked for his ID by the registration desk, he showed them his Mexican voter ID card.
The statement of probable cause for Rodriguez-Juarez’s case filed with the US District Court is vague, noting briefly that ICE officers were “following a lead.” And Department of Homeland Security records state only that ICE’s Phoenix Mobile Criminal Alien Team Unit had “received information that Rodriguez-Juarez was checked into room #214.”
Following Trump’s inauguration, ICE arrests rose by nearly 40 percent; this includes people like brothers Lizandro Claros Saravia and Diego Saravia, who were deported to El Salvador—the deadliest country in the world after Syria—after notifying ICE that Lisandro had gotten into college, and Irvin González, a 33-year-old transgender woman who was arrested while seeking a protective order against an abusive ex-boyfriend.
“We’re putting more people into that overburdened system just because we can,” an anonymous ICE officer told the New Yorker in July. “There’s just this school of thought that, well, we can do what we want.”
UPDATE, 9/14: Motel 6 has released a statement:
“Regarding the recent media story on Phoenix-area location, this was implemented at the local level without the knowledge of senior management. When we became aware of it last week, it was discontinued. We are currently investigating and will provide more information shortly.”