Two major hotel chains have now said they will not approve cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, following reports that the out-of-control agency might use rented hotel rooms to detain families in a series of planned raids across a number of major U.S. cities this weekend.
“Marriott International has had [no] indication that any of our hotels have been contacted by the U.S. government to be used to detain individuals,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “Our hotels are not configured to be detention facilities, but to be open to guests and community members as well. While we have no particular insights into whether the U.S. government is considering the use of hotels to aid in the situation at the border, Marriott has made the decision to decline any requests to use our hotels as detention facilities.”
Immigrant rights advocacy group Sanctuary DMV had staged protests at Marriott International and Choice Hotels International, with advocates delivering 122,000 petition signatures—including many from the Daily Kos community—asking them to oppose the separation of families and refuse cooperation with mass deportation agents. On the same day as Marriott issued its statement, Choice Hotels—which operates chains including Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, and Econo Lodge—joined in opposition.
“We are not aware that any of our franchised hotels, all of which are independently owned and operated, are being asked to serve as detention facilities. We do not believe hotels should be used in this way and will decline any requests to do so. We ask that our franchised hotels only be used for their intended purpose, which is to provide travelers with a welcoming hotel room,” Choice Hotels’ statement read. “An important first step,” Sanctuary DMV replied on Twitter. “How will you ensure your franchisees uphold this commitment? We know that franchisors can and do impose all sorts of rules and requirements on individual franchisees. Will you?”
This is a major win for families and basic decency—and more hotels need to join them. If hotel chains are going to aid in the separation of families, including U.S. citizen children who may be separated from or even deported with their parents, the public will not be silent. “We’re not just gonna send a letter,” said D. Taylor, head of labor union UNITE HERE. “We’ve gotta do action at every one of those hotels. We’ve gotta turn up the heat … we’ve gotta get off our asses and get off Twitter and get in the streets where this evil is going on.”
Marriott and Choice have made the right moves—what about the remaining hotels listed below?
ICE wants to use hotels as jails for immigrants.@Marriott@BestWestern@ChoiceHotels@DruryHotels@motel6@IHG@redroofinn@WyndhamHotelsDo NOT be a part of family separation and immigrant rights abuse. Do not profit from these atrocities.#ICEraids #ProtectEachOther #1u
Ã¢Â€Â” UNITE HERE (@unitehere) July 11, 2019