Washington’s state attorney general sued Motel 6 on Wednesday, accusing the hotel chain of illegally giving information on thousands of guests to immigration enforcement officials who did not have warrants and who scrutinized guests with Latino-sounding names.

Motel 6 has faced scrutiny since September, when a Phoenix publication uncovered evidence that two Arizona locations had been regularly handing over guests’ information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who were on the lookout for immigrants staying in the country illegally.

Motel 6 disavowed the practice and said the information exchange was limited to “the local level without the knowledge of senior management.”

But on Wednesday, Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson of Washington said his office launched its own investigation after the revelations in Arizona and discovered that “disturbing and unlawful” handovers were also routine at several corporate-owned Motel 6 locations in Washington state, suggesting the practice was more widespread than the company had contended.

 

Immigration Complicates Trump’s Spending Negotiations with Congress

Key Trump administration officials are set to huddle with the top two congressional leaders from each party on Wednesday to sort out a spending deal that keeps the government open past Jan. 19, when the temporary government funding Congress passed just before Christmas runs dry. Their conversation could also turn to immigration, as lawmakers face a March deadline to legislate protections.

Some Democrats have pushed to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the year-end spending bill, thus staving off a second legislative battle that could involve a fight over funding for the border wall and an end to a controversial visa lottery system. But GOP lawmakers and the White House have insisted that DACA protections and other immigration policies have no place in a spending bill.

 

DHS Chief Says Trump Would Consider Immigration Legislation with Path to Citizenship

The Trump administration would consider immigration legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary said Tuesday, while emphasizing no decision on that issue has been made and a border wall remains the priority.

Congress is considering at least three options, including citizenship or permanent legal status for people who were temporarily shielded from deportation, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in an interview. Details on qualifying for citizenship, including on how many years to wait and other requirements, would have to be addressed.

 

Trump’s Immigration Policies Are Making Universities Lose Money

American universities are already facing the brunt of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and are losing money as international students turn to other countries for their educations.

The enrollment of international students, who typically pay more in tuition than American citizens, has been declining since Trump took office, The New York Times reported on Tuesday. The travel ban, visa restrictions and even the president’s rhetoric about immigrants are among the factors that are contributing to a drop in revenue for universities, many of them in the Midwest.

The Times report cited numbers from the University of Central Missouri, which has lost $14 million in revenue because of a nearly 40% decline in international student enrollment from last year, as well as a report from the Institute of International Education, which found a 7% drop in new foreign students for the fall of 2017.

“As you lose those students, then the tuition revenue is negatively impacted as well,” Michael Godard, the school’s interim provost, told The Times.

 

 

 

More Workers Face Immigration Threats from Employers

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office says there’s a growing trend of employers warning workers to do what they’re told or face deportation. Immigrant rights advocates say they’re seeing these threats happening more because attitudes have changed against immigrants. Now, the Labor Commissioner’s Office is suing on behalf of a construction worker who says he didn’t get paid and was threatened.

Employment rights attorney Sebastian Sanchez is representing one worker who says when he tried to get paid for the tile work at a home in Arcadia, his boss threatened deportation. Sanchez is now helping the state labor commission sue that employer.

The Labor Commission’s office says deportation threats coming from employers have increased sharply. Sanchez blames the spike in threats on anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from President Donald Trump and promises by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to increase raids in so-called sanctuary cities like Los Angeles.

 

Private Immigrant Prisons in California Now Subject to Public Records Act

On January 1, private prisons that detain immigrants became subject to the California Public Records Act. The new legal provision is part of the Dignity Not Detention Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2017.

With this law, California became the first state in the country to apply open records laws to private immigration detention facilities.  The law also effectively freezes the expansion of for-profit immigration detention facilities in the state. Until now, private companies that operate immigration detention facilities have been exempt from public scrutiny, but now, under the Dignity Not Detention Act, the Adelanto Detention Facility is required by law to release this footage to the public.

While the Dignity Not Detention Act in California is a substantial step forward, private immigration detention facilities remain exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as well as other state public records laws.