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Motel 6 settles lawsuit by agreeing to pay $12 million for cooperating with ICE in Washington state

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Washington is a so-called sanctuary state

Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT via Getty Images

Motel 6 has agreed to pay $12 million for supplying U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with guest information from several locations in Washington state.

Washington state has been a so-called sanctuary state since February 2018, and as such refuses to cooperate with the federal government when it comes to apprehending illegal immigrants.

Here's what we know

Washington state authorities found that seven Motel 6 locations in Washington state had voluntarily supplied ICE with the personal information of 80,000 guests.

The personal information that Motel 6 provided to ICE included names, driver's licenses, passports, or green card numbers, room numbers, dates of birth, license plate numbers, and the hotel's guest identification numbers. This data belonged to guests who had stayed at the hotel between February 2015 and September 2017.

ICE agents would visit these Motel 6 locations and check these lists, reportedly circling and focusing on "Latino-sounding names," according to the Washington state attorney general's office.

ICE used this information to detain at least 20 people suspected of being illegal immigrants.

But authorities in Washington state argued that by releasing this information, Motel 6 had violated the privacy of its guests. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said that these guests had never been informed that their information could be shared. Ferguson sued the motel chain in January 2018.

"Motel 6's actions tore families apart and violated the privacy rights of tens of thousands of Washingtonians," Ferguson said in an April 4 news release. "Our resolution holds Motel 6 accountable for illegally handing over guests' private information without a warrant. Any other business that tries to violate Washingtonians' right to privacy can expect to hear from my office."

What else?

Motel 6 has agreed not to share any more guest information with federal authorities without a warrant. After legal fees are paid, the rest of the settlement money will be divided among the Motel 6 guests who had their information shared.

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