WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several corporate hotel chains are preparing for their end-of-quarter earnings calls this week just days after a report revealed that Hilton hotel subsidiaries housed unaccompanied children and detained immigrant families in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Hilton’s most recent denouncement of the use of its hotels for ICE comes a year after major hotel brands made similar empty promises. Just months after hotels made public denouncements, a report showed that several hotel chains broke those promises and allowed ICE to detain immigrant kids in their properties.

Although Hilton was the only hotel mentioned in the most recent story, ICE continues the secretive practice of housing immigrant families and unaccompanied children in hotels. Because of ICE’s secrecy, it is incumbent on the companies to hold themselves accountable to their previous statements and their shareholders.

“Any hotels aiding and abetting the Trump administration’s vicious and cruel child separation and family detention policy should be ashamed,” said Lizzy Price, spokesperson for Accountable.US. “Under this administration, children taken from their families were abused and sexually assaulted. Some even died. Hotel chains that have failed to stand by their promises last year are complicit in allowing ICE to house unaccompanied children and should prepare for a consumer backlash. Hotels must be held accountable to their previous statements about housing ICE detainees – and they should be prepared to answer for those promises on their upcoming earnings calls.”

End of quarter earnings calls this week include Hyatt on August 4; HiltonRLH (Red Lion Hotels) and Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion, EconoLodge) on August 6; Marriott International on August 10; and InterContinental (Holiday Inn, Staybridge, Kimpton) and Extended Stay America on August 11.

Background: Troubling Pattern Of Behavior For Hospitality Industry

July 2020: Hilton & Subsidiaries Forced To Denounce Use Of Its Hotels By ICE Following Multiple Reports Of Detained Immigrant Families & Unaccompanied Children

July 2020: AP Reported ICE Contractor Used Three Hampton Inn Locations In McAllen, El Paso And Phoenix 186 Times Over Two Months To Detain 169 Immigrant Children As Young As 1 Year Old Prior To Deportation. “The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before deporting them to their home countries under policies that have effectively shut down the nation’s asylum system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. . . . The records obtained by AP show the Hampton Inn in McAllen was used most often to detain children — 123 times over two months. The other hotels are in Phoenix and El Paso. . . . The Hampton Inns in McAllen, El Paso and Phoenix were used 186 times. No other hotels appear in the records, which indicate that 169 children were detained at the hotels, some with multiple stays.” [AP, 7/22/20]

  • Hilton, Which Owns Hampton Inn, Issued Statement Denouncing Use Of McAllen Hampton Inn For Detention Of Immigrant Children And Claiming “Our Policy Has Always Been That Hotels Should Not Be Used As Detention Centers.” “This is not activity that we support or in any way want associated with our hotels. Our policy has always been that hotels should not be used as detention centers or for detaining individuals. We expect all Hilton properties to reject business that would use a hotel in this way. We are in the process of contacting all Hilton owners and management companies in the U.S. to remind them of our policy, and provide guidance on identifying and preventing this type of business. We can also confirm that Hilton did not facilitate these reservations and does not have an enterprise agreement with the private contractor.” [Hilton press release, 7/24/20]

June 2020: Haitian Family Seeking Asylum, Including 3-Year Old Who Tested Positive For COVID, Held At San Antonio Homewood Suites Hotel For More Than A Week. “A Haitian family detained by immigration officials at a hotel near the San Antonio airport for more than a week has been taken to the Karnes County family detention center. Officials checked them out of Homewood Suites by Hilton on Wednesday, hours after advocates rallied at the hotel and the family spoke with a lawyer for the first time. The family — two parents, their 7-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter — crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum on June 7, said their lawyer, Krystle Cartagena of RAICES. The daughter has tested positive for the coronavirus.” [San Antonio Express-News, 7/6/20]

  • Homewood Suites Issued Statement Claiming “We Wholly Reject The Use Of Our Hotel Guestrooms As A Detention Facility.” “Homewood Suites, a franchise, echoed Hilton Hotels’ statements against its rooms being used to detain immigrants. “We wholly reject the use of our hotel guestrooms as a detention facility,” Homewood Suites said in a statement.” [San Antonio Express-News, 7/6/20]
  • Homewood Suites Is Owned By Hilton. [Hilton, accessed 7/30/20]

July 2019: Major Hotel Brands Issued Public Statements Declaring Their Hotels Would Not Be Used For ICE Detention

Major Hotel Brands Issued Statements That They Would Not Allow ICE To Use Their Properties For Immigrant Detention During Planned Raids In 2019. “As U.S. cities brace for President Donald Trump’s promised immigration raids this weekend, two popular hotel chains said they would not serve as detention centers for immigrants in the event of a housing shortage. . . . Officials with Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain — which operates 30 different hotel brands including Sheraton, Courtyard, Ritz Carlton, W and Westin — said they would not allow ICE to use the company’s properties as detention centers. . . . Another large global chain, Choice Hotels — which owns Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Clarion, Ascend, Cambria and EconoLodge — sent a similar statement to ABC News.” [ABC News, 7/12/19]

  • Headline: WAMU: “With Possible ICE Raids Imminent, Hotel Chains Are Taking A Stand.” [WAMU, 7/12/19]
  • Headline: The Hill: “Major hotel chains pledge not to let ICE use rooms as backup immigration detention facilities.” [The Hill, 7/12/19]
  • Choice Hotels, On Potential Use Of Hotel Rooms For ICE Detention: “We Do Not Believe Hotels Should Be Used In This Way And Will Decline Any Requests To Do So.” ““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,” a spokesman for Choice Hotels told ABC News. “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.”” [ABC News, 7/12/19]
  • Marriott International, On Potential Use Of Hotel Rooms For ICE Detention: “Marriott Has Made The Decision To Decline Any Requests To Use Our Hotels As Detention Facilities.” ““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,” a spokesperson for Marriott told ABC News in a statement. “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.”” [ABC News, 7/12/19]
  • InterContinental Hotel Group Issued Statement Opposing Use Of Its Hotels For “Involuntary Detention Of Any Kind.” “The InterContinental Hotels Group expressed the same sentiment, asserting that its hotels “are designed and intended for voluntary lodging of guests, and we do not expect them to be used for involuntary detention of any kind.”” [Newsweek, 7/22/19]
  • Hilton, Hyatt, Best Western, Wyndham And MGM Said They Would Oppose ICE Use Of Hotels For Detention. “So far, Marriott, Hilton, Best Western, Wyndham, Choice and IHG have all issued statements saying they do not want to see their hotels being used for detention, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, other hotel groups, which were not directly targeted by the petition, including Hyatt and MGM Resorts International, have also vowed that their sites will not be used by U.S. immigration authorities to house migrants.” [Newsweek, 7/22/19]
  • Red Roof Inn: Red Roof Hotels Aren’t Set Up As Detention Facilities – “We Reject The Idea That Hotels Are To Be Used For This Purpose.” “While Red Roof Inn was not among the chains that came out publicly against the hotel detentions in July, the company told CNN it also had a policy at the time that its locations should not be used in this way. “Red Roof hotels are not set-up or intended to be used as detention facilities,” the company said. “We reject the idea that hotels are to be used for this purpose.”” [CNN, 11/5/19]

November 2019: Report Showed Multiple Hotel Chains Broke Promises, Allowing ICE To Detain Immigrant Kids In Their Properties In August & September 2019

Headline: CNN: “Major hotels break promises on allowing feds to detain immigrants in their rooms.” [CNN, 11/5/19]

Four Months After Claiming It Would Deny ICE Detention Requests, CNN Reported Choice Hotels Allowed Five Immigrant Children To Be Detained In At Least Two Of Its Hotels In August & September 2019. “Choice Hotels said that without the specific locations of the recent stays, it could not confirm or deny what sources told CNN — that five immigrant youths were held in its hotels in August and September. Three were held at a Comfort Suites in August, the sources said, while one stayed at Sleep Inn & Suites in August, and another stayed there in September.” [CNN, 11/5/19]

  • November 2019: Choice Hotels Claimed It Would “Take Additional Proactive Measures . . . To Establish Greater Clarity Moving Forward.” “The company told CNN it communicated its position to franchisees earlier this year and that each property manages its own reservations and contracts. “We are working to take additional proactive measures to ensure Choice branded hotels are not being used as detention centers by examining the language in our brand Rules and Regulations and considering changes to establish greater clarity moving forward,” Choice said.” [CNN, 11/5/19]

Los Angeles Best Western Hotel Was Used To Detain Immigrant Children In August & September 2019 And Dating Back More Than A Decade. “The Best Western Plus Dragon Gate Inn in Los Angeles’ Chinatown also reportedly held immigrant youth — with two children staying there in August, and two in September. When CNN called and asked to speak with the manager of this location, an employee said “we don’t discuss that,” and hung up. ICE’s public data shows that Dragon Gate Inn has been used to house immigrant detainees in the past as well, dating back more than a decade.” [CNN, 11/5/19]

  • Best Western Claimed Its LA Hotel Would No Longer Provide Accommodations To ICE. “When asked by CNN about the recent stays, the company said in a statement that the Dragon Gate Inn no longer “offers or provides accommodations” to ICE. It wouldn’t say when the change was made or whether corporate had been aware of these stays.” [CNN, 11/5/19]

Red Roof Inn Was Used To Detain At Least Eight Immigrant Children In August & September 2019. “Yet according to the sources, at least eight minors were held at a Red Roof Inn in August and September.” [CNN, 11/5/19]

  • Red Roof Inn Claimed It Was Unaware Of ICE Use And It Would “Strongly Advise” Franchisees Against ICE Bookings. “Red Roof said it was not aware that any property was being used for this purpose and couldn’t look into the stays CNN inquired about without a specific location. It added that it has told its franchisees that “if there is a request for their hotel to be used as a detention facility, we strongly advise them to deny the request.” [CNN, 11/5/19]


back to top