Motel 6 Announces Plans to Stop Sucking

The chain will no longer allow voluntary sharing of guest information with ICE.


Motel 6

This week Motel 6 found itself in hot water (though we can't say the same for their showers—bah dum ching!) after the Phoenix New Times exposed the fact that front-desk clerks at two locations were routinely handing over guest information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) voluntarily, with the goal of helping immigration agents round up otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants.

The company's initial response was to blame isolated misbehavior, saying on Twitter: "This was implemented at the local level without knowledge of senior management." The claim was dubious at best, given Motel 6's history of zealous cooperation with law enforcement and the fact that the motels in question aren't independent franchisees.

While the chain is sticking by their story that HQ had nothing to do with the narcing, Motel 6 has now made a clear statement about not permitting such behavior going forward and promising an internal audit.

The motel chain issued this statement to the press:

Moving forward, to help ensure that this does not occur again, we will be issuing a directive to every one of our more than 1,400 locations nationwide, making clear that they are prohibited from voluntarily providing daily guest lists to ICE.

Additionally, to help ensure that our broader engagement with law enforcement is done in a manner that is respectful of our guests' rights, we will be undertaking a comprehensive review of our current practices and then issue updated, company-wide guidelines.

Protecting the privacy and security of our guests are core values of our company. Motel 6 apologizes for this incident and will continue to work to earn the trust and patronage of our millions of loyal guests.

This is great news, and kudos to the New Times for taking a local story and effecting national change. What's more, this will certainly be an object lesson in the ways that being a rat is bad business—I suspect that a few other hotel chains are quietly "undertaking a comprehensive review of their current practices" as well.