- Hotel chains like Marriott and Choice Hotels have announced that they will not let ICE use their hotels as backup immigrant holding facilities after activist groups brought a petition to them.
- ICE has been conducting raids in large American cities this weekend, targeting up to 2,000 undocumented immigrants.
- Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, said in a statement that “our hotels are not configured to be detention facilities.”
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A successful petition by activists to get hotel chains Marriott and Choice hotels to not allow ICE to house immigrants there may lead to more families being separated, according to immigration officials.
Before the current ongoing raid by immigration enforcement of major American cities, activists presented a petition to the world’s largest hotel chain Marriott in the hopes the company would not allow ICE to house immigrants in their hotels. Both Marriott and Choice hotel chains announced they would not work with ICE, which led the agency’s acting director Matthew Albence to say this might lead to more families being separated.
“If hotels or other places do not want to allow us to utilize that, it’s almost forcing us into a situation where we’re going to have to take one of the parents and put them in custody and separate them from the rest of their families,” he said in an interview with the Associated Press.
The family separation policy has prompted some of the most the intense backlash of President Donald Trump’s term. Pictures of mothers and fathers being separated from their young children have been shared by activists and others since the Zero Tolerance policy began in 2018.
The Trump admin. is CHOOSING to conduct these family raids. Lack of detention space is NOT an acceptable reason to separate families. @ICEgov blaming hotels for separations is absurd. Their cruelty is a choice, & it’s as un-American as it is avoidable. https://t.co/5r3c97VvoS)
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) July 14, 2019
The hotels have said their facilities are not meant to serve as impromptu jails, and preemptively declined to work with the federal agency.
“Our hotels are not configured to be detention facilities, but to be open to guests and community members as well,” Marriott International wrote in a statement dated Thursday. “While we have no particular insights into whether the US 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.”
President Donald Trump, who has made immigration one of the biggest parts of his presidency, said the raids in nine American cities such as New York, San Francisco, Houston and more, will start Sunday. The raids will target up to 2,000 people, he has said.
“It starts on Sunday and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put them in prison in the countries they came from,” Trump said.
The raid was originally going to target undocumented immigrants living in New Orleans, but Hurricane Barry’s landfall in Louisiana has suspended all immigration enforcement activities in the city for the time being, the agency announced.