Hotel giants refuse to serve as detention centers under the request of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the upcoming immigration raids across major American cities.
President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that immigration raids would proceed this weekend, starting Sunday.
ICE sent requests to use some of the hotels’ properties as temporary detention centers since they are expecting high numbers of arrests during the raids. Approximately 2,000 people in ten major cities have been identified and will be deported through the operation.
Arrested immigrants will be housed in detention centers until the completion of their deportation papers and travel documents. ICE internally discussed the possibility of using hotels if the family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania will run out of space to accommodate all.
Marriott International emailed a statement saying: “Our hotels are not configured to be detention facilities, but to be open to guests and community members as well.”
Choice Hotels also sent a statement to Sanctuary DMV, an all-volunteer group resisting policies and practices against immigrants in Virginia.
It reads: “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.”
Hilton Hotels and Resorts also added, “The wellbeing, safety, and security of [their] guests and team members is the most important consideration for Hilton properties. Our hotels are intended to be welcoming places for all. They are not designed to be used as detention centers, and we reject the idea of using them for this purpose.”
Organizations such as Sanctuary DMV have started calling on hotels and business to provide statements to deny services to ICE publicly. In Twitter, the organization used #NoHotelsForIce for their calls.
The US President reiterated that the raids aim to arrest criminals. President Trump said in an interview outside the White House, “We’re focused on criminals as much as we can… we’re taking them out by the thousands; we’re getting them out.”
ICE agents will proceed with arresting immigrants who received deportation notices but failed to appear to their immigration hearings. However, any undocumented immigrant caught during raids will also be deported.
The immigration raids were initially scheduled on June 17 but were put on a two-week delay following criticisms from Democrats and ICE and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) members.
Affected cities are Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and San Fransisco.
ICE Raids Affecting Businesses
Against adamant advice from top officials of ICE and DHS, President Trump shared the news of the raids via Twitter last month.
Since then, reports of people fearing to leave their houses have been rampant, despite the two-week delay of the actual operation. For a month, most of the streets have been empty.
Small business owners saw adverse effects of the raids regarding their sales. Despite the summer vacation and supposed boom in business, businesses in Little Village, Chicago reported fewer customers.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot confirms the unusual quiet that has taken over their streets. She said, “I was out over the weekend in Little Village, and there were significantly [fewer] people on the street on a beautiful Saturday. The streets should have been crowded.”
Residents expressed their shock about the empty restaurants and shops in Little Village. A resident named Gabriela told NBC Chicago, “It was usually bumper to bumper with the cars and people walking all the time.”
Mayor Lightfoot has been an advocate of immigration. Last Wednesday, Mayor Lightfoot barred ICE from using the city’s police databases that can be used for the immigration raids.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed Mayor Lightfoot’s announcement via a statement to the Chicago Tribune. He said, “All other federal agencies still have access to these systems, as sharing this information is crucial to active criminal investigations in which we are partnering with federal agencies along with intelligence sharing functions that are vital to national homeland security functions.”
Businesses who typically serve Latino customers took the biggest hit.