Motel 6 Succumbs to Open Borders Pressure Tactics

As FAIR reported in January, Washington’s attorney general filed suit against Motel 6 for cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when the agency was investigating hotel guests. The Evergreen State claims the motel chain’s cooperation with immigration authorities constituted both a discriminatory business practice and a violation of privacy rights under state law.

That absurd lawsuit was followed by a separate class-action filing in Phoenix, Arizona, by former Motel 6 guests whose information was shared with ICE. Rather than contest the class-action claim, Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to the plaintiffs. According to Fox News:

“As part of the agreement, the motel has agreed to pay up to $5.6 million to patrons who ‘were placed in immigration-removal proceedings’ while paying up to $1 million to guests who were interrogated and up to an additional $1 million to patrons whose information was shared with authorities, court documents stated, according to the Washington Post. The motel will cover the former patrons’ legal fees.”

Yes, you read that correctly. An American company has agreed to a massive payout because its employees reported crimes to the appropriate law enforcement agency – and it’s paying a bonus to those who were in fact here unlawfully and who, therefore, were justly placed in removal proceedings by ICE.

What’s even worse is that the law is firmly in Motel 6’s favor. As FAIR noted in its earlier piece on this issue:

  • In United States v. Miller, the Supreme Court held that there is no legitimate expectation of privacy in information voluntarily conveyed to a company and exposed to its employees in the ordinary course of business.
  • In Schneckloth v. Bustamonte,the Supreme Court firmly held that any party with a Fourth Amendment privacy interest may consent to a search, obviating the need for a subpoena or warrant.
  • In City of Los Angeles v. Patel, the Supreme Court specifically noted that hotel operators may consent to a search of their registration records.
  • The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution establishes that, in cases of conflict, federal law takes precedence over state law and even state constitutions. This means that states can’t attempt to bind the federal government to a particular course of action via state law – as Washington is attempting to do in this case.

Despite the fact that it seems to have a winning case, Motel 6 sadly appears to have adopted a strategy of cutting its losses, rather than vindicating its rights. Our legal system has now become a tool for coercing companies to disobey federal immigration law, lest they be branded “racists” by the enforcers of political correctness. And one wonders, if the Motel 6 employees had been reporting other illegal activities would public safety still have been trumped by the perpetrators’ alleged privacy rights?

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Arrest Obamas, Clintons, Bushes, Soros for their crimes against American Citizens and against our Constitution FOR the USA.  Banish them from USA for life.  REPEL the illegal invaders! Declassify everything from Ruby Ridge /WAQCO to 9-11-01, to Benghazi, to Obama the Illegal Alien Usurper of Office, to Clintons’ Crimes, to present! Do it now ! Show We The People the Truth and nothing but the Truth Evidence!

  2. avatar

    I’m From Seattle

    And blog on Seattle Bubble Real Estate Blog Website

    This Motel 6 ICE lawsuit is sending shivers down the spine for all landlords….if illegal alien hoards are living and destroying your unit, call ICE and the Washington State AG will put you in jail now?

  3. Pingback: 7-Eleven Obeyed the Law! Oh No! |

  4. avatar

    The media is now spinning the loss of House seats by Republicans in California as a rejection of the GOP because of policy issues. No, the fact is that it’s been going on a long time because of “demographic changes”. All those anchor babies of 20 years ago are now old enough to vote and mass immigration continues from Asian and Latin American countries. They vote Democratic by large margins. At one time California had GOP governors and senators and voted for their candidates for president.

    The Republicans are never going to be able to do anything to get their votes because those voters not only want open borders but the large scale welfare programs Democrats support. How stupid are the Koch brothers with their support of mass immigration of low wage workers for businesses. Eventually those people will be voters and they will vote out the capitalists that the Koch brothers claim to support and replace them with socialist Democrats.

  5. avatar

    “Follow the money.” Motel 6’s legal cave-in is one act of contemptible cowardice. The damage the purveyors of open borders and political correctness have inflicted on our constitutional republic is immense. We can still undo the damage, believe it or not; but there isn’t much time, and there’s a lot of work ahead. Long live ICE. Without interior enforcement, border security is useless.

  6. avatar

    So, if a motel were to inform the police that prostitution, drug dealing, or sales of stolen goods were occurring on its premises, that would be “discrimination” against hookers, pushers, and assorted dirt bags?