By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) - Motel 6 has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over claims the budget chain routinely provided guest lists from properties in Arizona to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE (NYSE:)) agents, court documents showed on Saturday.
The proposed settlement, outlined in court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, calls for Motel 6 to abide by a three-year consent degree to not give guest information to federal immigration authorities without a warrant or subpoena and to provide training on the issue to workers.
Representatives for Motel 6 could not be reached for comment by Reuters on Saturday. The court papers say that the motel chain denies wrongdoing or liability and that it does not have any discriminatory or unconstitutional policies.
Immigration has become an incendiary issue in U.S. politics amid a surge of immigrants seeking to enter the country illegally and moves by President Donald Trump to step up deportations and build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Local governments dubbing themselves "sanctuary cities” have resisted cooperating with the Trump administration’s crackdown, and immigration is certain to play a major role in the 2020 presidential campaign.
The lawsuit was filed in January 2018 by the Los Angeles-based Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, on behalf of guests with Latino names after the Phoenix New Times newspaper reported that Motel 6 was providing their names to ICE at two of its properties in Arizona and six in Washington state.
A previous settlement over the Arizona properties reached by the two sides was rejected in November 2018 by a federal judge who said it did not go far enough in making sure that the plaintiffs, many of whom may be in the country illegally, would be found and compensated.
The new settlement seeks to clarify how the plaintiffs would be found and paid and sets up a fund for that purpose.
A spokesman for MALDEF, a Latino activist group that has repeatedly challenged the Trump administration, did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
In April of this year Motel 6 agreed to pay $12 million to settle a similar lawsuit filed by Washington state’s attorney general.
Motel 6 is controlled by the private equity firm Blackstone (NYSE:) Group LP, which bought the brand in 2012.
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