Motel 6 was giving its guests an unwanted amenity—reportedly turning over its registry to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The story was broken by the Phoenix New Times, which claimed that over the course of six months, ICE agents arrested 20 people at Motel 6 locations in Arizona after reading through the guest lists and targeting people by national origin.
The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class action suit on behalf of eight Hispanic plaintiffs who were all detained by ICE. The suit claimed that the practice violated their privacy and their Fourth Amendment right to remain free from unreasonable searches. Now the budget motel chain has agreed to pay up to $7.6 million to settle the case, Phoenix New Times reports.
In addition to the settlement, Motel 6 also agreed to stop sharing guest data with immigration authorities absent warrants, subpoenas, or threats of serious crime or harm for two years.
While Motel 6 did not admit liability or engaging in unlawful conduct, the chain’s management company, G6 Hospitality, reportedly ordered its more than 1,400 U.S. and Canadian locations in September to stop voluntarily giving guest lists to ICE agents. Now, G6 Hospitality “accepts full responsibility for both compensating those who were harmed and taking the necessary steps to ensure that we protect the privacy of our guests,” according to a statement to the New Times.
The money will be used to compensate Motel 6 guests who were questioned by ICE or placed in deportation proceedings thanks to Motel 6’s collusion with ICE agents. After paying damages to the plaintiffs, all remaining funds will reportedly go to nonprofit organizations serving immigrants through legal aid and scholarships.