'I'll Tell You One Goddamned Thing for Sure. I'm Not Staying at a Motel 6 From Now On.'

Is the discount hotel chain ratting out undocumented immigrants to ICE?



Are two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix routinely sending in leads to immigration agents when they suspect guests of being undocumented?

While an investigation by the Phoenix New Times was unable to get confirmation from Motel 6 headquarters, employees at the motels in question said that collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is standard practice: "We send a report every morning to ICE—all the names of everybody that comes in," a front-desk clerk told the New Times.

"Every morning at about 5 o'clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE." What's more, court documents show that "between February and August, ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at Motel 6s, showing up roughly every two weeks" while there was a distinct lack of "records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other local motels during this same time period."

So ICE teams show up, claiming to be "following a lead" or to have "received information," and then they go right to the doors of people who arouse the suspicions of motel clerks and demand papers. People who can't provide documents are whisked away. Keep in mind that as far as we know clerks have no reason to suspect these people of having committed any crime other than lacking standard American identification docs—they have no way of knowing about outstanding warrants or other possible crimes. All they know is when someone shows a Mexican ID at check in.

Motel 6 has a history of nationwide narc-ery, as documented by the American Civil Liberties Union in a 2015 statement about the chain's habit of collaboration with local police. And the Phoenix locations are corporate-owned, not franchised, which makes it less likely that these are rogue operators.

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that hotels do not have to comply with warrantless police requests to hand over guest information, so if Motel 6 is in fact routinely handing over guest information without a warrant, they're not doing so under legal threat of punishment.

In short: If you live in Arizona and you're an undocumented immigrant, better not book a room at a Motel 6.

And personally, I'm with Phoenix-based attorney Robert McWhirter, who told the New Times: "I'll tell you one goddamned thing for sure—I'm not staying at a Motel 6 from now on."

UPDATE: Motel 6 has issued a statement in response to news coverage claiming the problem was local. I remain skeptical, given the chain's history of cooperation with law enforcement:

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  1. I actually know one of these Motel 6s. They actually send the information to the police as well. Their reasoning is because such a large portion of their clientele is actually criminals on the run. My friends brother actually got arrested from staying at that Motel 6 as he was fleeing parole from California.

    1. My friends brother actually got arrested from staying at that Motel 6 as he was fleeing parole from California.

      He’s been staying there for years and only got picked up since sometime in the Nov. 5, 2016-Jan. 20, 2017 range, right?

      1. No, this was back in 2011 or 2012 I can’t recall. I don’t know how long he was there, we only heard about it because the police called us to come pick up his truck from the parking lot.

    2. There’s nothing really outstanding about them, but they tend to be clean and obviously cheap, so it’s not a surprise that they’d be attractive flophouses for fugitives.

  2. “Hi, I’m Tom Bodett for Motel 6, and we’ll leave the light on for ICE, because you being here LEGALLY is against the LAW.”

    1. They’ll leave the red light on, then the blue light on, then the red light…

    2. Just don’t expect a mint on your pillow, or a refund of your rent in the morning.

  3. Best Western from now on.

    1. “You think l like this hair, man? Huh? You think l like these clothes? My wife wants me to stay at Ramada. l’ve been working on these fuckers for three months! THREE MONTHS!”

    2. Except Best Western is the worst hotel in the nation. Check for mold before you accept the room.

  4. Now I want to start a competing hotel chain that doesn’t rat out its guests.

  5. Who stays at a Motel 6?

    1. No self-respecting, LEGAL American, I can tell you that much.

      1. I loathe that this is the angle here.

        Nevermind that the hotels are privately owned and may or may not be participating as part of a nationwide policy. Third party doctrine and the right to privacy juxtaposed against public accommodations or the never-ending unofficial war on the poor/poverty? Nope, ICE just happens to be showing up and detaining the people who just happen to be here illegally at the behest of these evil hotel owners.

        Nevermind that this has been the explicit purpose of hotel registries since at least the Middle Ages and that, until fairly recently, any given hotel owner could tell anyone they liked that their money is no good here/take a hike. Nope, white hatred of brown people is the only explanation that Reason can come up with or advance parrot.

        1. From the article, the guy was only staying at the Motel 6 because he had a fight with his live-in girlfriend and left so she could “cool down.” Perhaps she did, with ICE.

        2. More like subservience to the total state.

      2. Which makes it even more odd that they would rat out their paying customers.

  6. I seriously doubt it’s just Motel 6. These days, you’d be better off avoiding all hotels, and instead, driving an Aztek with a built-in tent or camping in a secluded national forest if you don’t want the police state messing with you!

    I worked at a similar hotel for a few days, until I was told I was expected to be “the eyes and ears” of the police and let them have the run of the place. I was highly encouraged to snitch people out (after taking their money, of course!) Indeed, the old mantra: “Report ANYTHING that doesn’t seem right, no matter how trivial you think it may be!” I quit there and then.

    This was around 2008, when servility and cowardice really took hold of our nation! It’s undoubtedly much worse now. We are being surrounded by a fully interconnected police state, and the propaganda’s done an excellent job of turning citizens into enthusiastic snitches, copsuckers, and state-worshippers!

    Also, had an old college professor get nailed dressing up as a man and prostituting himself. I would have never guessed! The hotel was clearly feeding names to the cops for stings, and when they saw a UGA professor, it was too good to turn down! Totally humiliated the dude, but he at least got to keep his retirement.

    1. I seriously doubt it’s just Motel 6.

      As I pointed out above, this is the whole point of hotel registries and has been since forever and, as demonstrated throughout history, either you’re going to extort your privacy from the proprietor, have *some* passable fucking documents, or pay a premium for the bending the law wrt free speech/right to privacy/public accommodation.

    2. See something, say something. Just hope no one says anything about you someday.

  7. We just stayed at a Motel 6 on Coeur d’Alene ID on an extended road trip where we didn’t have any real plans where we were going except to see friends and family along the way. Motel 6 is not our kind of place but there was a huge event in the city and it was the only room we could find in the area and the price was unbelievably high.

    In the morning, we went down to do some laundry and we were talking to one of the employees. He was saying that most people don’t want to stay there because of all the arrests so we asked why there were so many arrests. He said they give the license plate numbers to the police every night so they could check for warrants. Good thing we were clean.

    A little while later we were in WA and a sign at the hotel said that WA law requires that all hotels get the license place numbers of each guest on check in. I always thought it was so they could make sure others weren’t in the parking lot but it’s not the hotel who is using the numbers, I guess. We won’t be spending much time at all in that area of the country anymore.

    1. I always thought it was so they could make sure others weren’t in the parking lot but it’s not the hotel who is using the numbers, I guess. We won’t be spending much time at all in that area of the country anymore.

      I’m curious as to what you think they themselves do to the cars that aren’t on the registry or what other hotels would do different in other parts of the country. Force you them park at the nearest bank or the McD’s across the street? Wish them into the cornfield?

      1. If “wish them into the cornfield” is a euphemism for towing them away, then yes. There is a point where we’re all a little naive.

    2. That suggests to me that its probably not a good idea to stay in a Motel in an anti-gun owner state.

      I rather suspect they in addition to running the plates for warrants that they also try and determine if the owner of the vehicle has a CWP and thus is highly likely to be transporting a firearm.

      1. Unfortunately we dropped the guns off in Rexburg and left the Jack Russell Terrier at home so we were basically defenseless.

        1. Love the vacations which are largely unplanned.

          Just got back from two weeks out west. CA and OR were the primary destinations (Lassen, Redwoods, and Crater Lake which was completely obscured by smoke), but after that we had nothing at all planned and 5 more days to spend before heading back east. The West is thankfully full of boundless recreational opportunities for someone with no plans at all.

          Reaching the ID border felt like I was coming back to the US since transportation and carrying were more rational.

          1. So much smoke! We had smoke through Montana (where the woman at the gas station apologized for it), Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Then came home to a flooded city. I rather have the water than the smoke.

    3. Was this in June? Maybe during the Iron Man Triathlon? that’s the only huge CDA event I can think of.

      1. Could have also been the annual Bloomsday run in Spokane, just across the state line. That thing is huge, and all the hotels fill up for miles around.

      2. They said it was an Iron Man competition but it was at the end of August after the eclipse.

  8. Fuck you Motel 6. Never again.

  9. Another good reason to support decentralized short term rentals.

  10. We’ll leave the snitch on for you.

  11. And people wonder how the Nazis rose to power.

  12. Nice to see there’s a patriotic business ready to help purge our land of illegal invaders.

    If the Mexicans want America back, let them grab their guns and try to take it back.


    Didn’t think so.

    White CIS *MEN* conquered the land called The UNited States of America.

    Deal with it.

    1. ^ Not a parody.

      1. “^ Not a parody.”

        The handle suggests otherwise, especially the misspelling.
        I’m guessing sock/troll.

    2. Dude, your penis must be sooooo tiny to overcompensate that much.

  13. “We send a report every morning to ICE?all the names of everybody that comes in,” a front-desk clerk told the New Times.

    Frankly, that’s enough to lose them my business. No collaboration necessary. Why the fuck are they sending guest lists in to the police at all.

  14. I’ve stayed at many Motel 6’s and have always enjoyed their services. This just makes me respect them more. I’m glad to see they’re stepping up and doing the right thing. I’m sure they will be attacked for it by racists which makes what theyre doing that much more brave.

    1. Does this not make any sense or is it just me?

      1. He may have been going for irony, but conflating racism with prejudice (illegal is not a race) and then confusing the notion that a racist would object to this behavior just makes it nonsense.

      2. Enjoyed a Motel 6? That’s sarcasm

        1. Hey, some people like Cracker Barrel, too.

    2. Emt7777,

      Great comment.
      What honest citizen would complain about some crooks and illegals being rounded up.
      I suppose there are some people who would consider reporting a drugged or drunk driver either.

      1. Since you can’t seem to get your syntax correct, can we assume the drunk is you? Regardless, if you get home without hitting anything, why would anyone give a shit?

        Fuck off, slaver.

        1. Regardless, if you get home without hitting anything, why would anyone give a shit?

          If you’re going home Motel 6 doesn’t/shouldn’t give a shit. If you’re checking, guess what, Motel 6 gets to call the cops simply because they don’t like the cut of your jib. Don’t like it? Move to within walking distance of the bar or buy a house and get drunk there. Either way, you don’t have an unalienable right to a hotel room.

        2. Piggy,
          You and your criminal friends on the run should just keep moving along while you can.
          How long were you locked up for, all totaled?
          Reading your other responses and noting your interest in penis sizes, I’m just guessing it was related to your activities with children.

  15. If they are ratting out every suspected illegal, where in the hell are they finding workers to clean the rooms?

    1. They only rat out the staff when they ask for a day off.

    2. Exactly what I was thinking.

      That’s also why I don’t buy at face value,what is presented here. If the hospitality industry was turning in illegal immigrants en mass, there would be no staff at even the finest hotels here in California.

  16. Why would you stay at a motel 6?

    1. There was no room at the stable?

    2. Because it’s clean and safe and dirt cheap.
      I’ve stayed at them before. I’m not so sure after this article, but they were my preferred alternative for long-distance road trips. If you just need a place to crash for the night, you’re not there to enjoy the hotel, it’s perfect – you get a clean bed and a shower, and you don’t have to worry about stray bullets or hookers getting in fights at 3AM.

      1. Not when every other hotel is booked. We paid $150 for a room that didn’t even have a bathtub only a shower.

  17. No wonder hotels are so worried about airbnb

  18. Nice to see the land of the free remains so.

  19. Phoenix-based attorney Robert McWhirter, who told the New Times: “I’ll tell you one goddamned thing for sure?I’m not staying at a Motel 6 from now on.”

    Huge threat, that…. from the attorney.

    He was also reported to declare, “I won’t be driving a mid-80’s Chrysler K car to work from now on either. “

  20. Pet-friendly though. Just not mexican-friendly.

    1. I’m sure they’re fine with Mexicans. Just not the ones here illegally.

  21. A good reason to try to stay at Motel 6.
    The crooks and illegals will figure out they should not be there.
    Honest citizens will have a safer motel stay and safer future with these people removed from the guest list.

  22. BTW, anyone else getting Smuin ballet ads?
    They’re fake.
    The dancer is attractive and has boobs. No ballet dancer fits that description.

    1. there was a distinct lack of “records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other local motels during this same time period.”

      New Times was unable to find records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other local motels during this same time period.

      Fucking Reason.

  23. I kind of get it.
    Motel 6 is known for being dirty cheap, spartan, but clean and SAFE. As a dirt cheap motel, they would otherwise attract prostitutes and drug users, so they make an effort to discourage them from staying there by cooperating with law enforcement in arresting anyone they suspect of criminal activity.

    Many of the illegal aliens are probably just day laborers who otherwise don’t pose a threat, but they might be involved with human smugglers or people selling fake papers and so forth, so the hotel might want to avoid any of those people showing up at night, and creeping out the other guests.

    In other words, this isn’t just because they’re being douche-bags. It’s because they are trying to maintain their reputation as a cheap safe place to sleep.

  24. Good for Motel 6. It’s their right as business owners to rate out suspected illegal immigrants and other criminals if they want to.

    1. It is in fact zeir duty as citizens of the Reich, volkegnosse. As the Apostle of Altruism Immanuel Kant once said: “I cannot tell a lie, Herr Sturmbannfuehrer. There is a jewish girl hiding in ze attic of zat tenement!”

  25. Another good reason to support decentralized short term rentals.

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  26. No wonder hotels are so worried about airbnb

    My recent post: Content Marketing Revolution Review

  27. Time for a fake ID

  28. You can check in any time you’d like, and you’ll be sure to leave.

  29. Well duhhhh, an attorney says he won’t stay at motel 6? Does that surprise or concern anyone?

  30. This is the same attitude that folks in cheap parts of town have – be on the lookout for dodgy folks since dodgy folks can only afford to live in the cheap areas. it explains why a lot of cheap blue-collar suburbs like to keep their town “undiverse”.

  31. You know, you do not have to answer the door when someone/anyone knocks. When I stay at Motel 6 if anyone knocks I call the front desk and tell them. I don’t answer the door. I don’t have to. If the police have a warrant they will come in regardless.

  32. It’s kind of ironic… Psychedelic band Spirit had a Motel $6 motif on one of its best albums. One of the song tracks is titled “Jewish”–another minority declared illegal under National Socialist migratory laws. So for Motel 6 stockholders to turn collaborator is doubly ironic. Come the liberation it’ll be fun to shave their heads, parade them around, and indict the lot of them for trial as war criminals at Nuremberg.

    1. Jesus Hank, get a fucking grip. If you don’t like it, don’t stay there. i think they’re assholes, but it’s not the fucking holocaust. Take a deep breath and count to fucking ten.

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