Hotel Chain Kicks Feds Out After Learning Immigrant Kids Are Being Detained In Rooms

A Hampton Inns & Suites location in McAllen Texas is cutting off a government contract after learning that the feds were using the rooms as a place to store immigrant kids on their way to deportation. The hotel’s official Facebook page carried an announcement, saying that the booking was canceled and “we will not accept further reservations of this type.”

Trump administration kicked out of hotel were immigrant kids detained
Paper dolls are held by demonstrators protesting outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters to demand the release of immigrants families in detention centers at risk during the coronavirus pandemic, in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2020. – Lawmakers have raised concerns about the spread of the virus inside detention centers across the country as more than 3,000 immigrants in ICE custody have tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

The separation of immigrant children from their parents or guardians under the Trump administration has been the subject of lawsuits and protests. This weekend, civil rights attorneys sued the U.S. government on behalf of a group of immigrant children they said were being held in a Texas hotel. According to Courthouse News, an attorney tried to enter the hotel floor where they believed children were being held for deportation, and was pushed back into the elevator as he shouted for any detained persons to give him a name or phone number.

Fox 17 reports that civil rights groups filed for a temporary restraining order that would prevent “rapid expulsion” of the detained individuals. The two groups filing the suit, the Texas Civil Rights Project and the ACLU, shared information on Twitter. The TCRP noted that individuals were holding signs in the window of the hotel, pleading for help and saying they don’t have phones for the attorneys to contact them.

As the video was shared across social media, the hotel responded publicly. In a Facebook post, they first assured the public that all immigrant minors and their government chaperones had been removed, and that the hotel would not accept a booking of this sort again, then updating to clarify that, while minors with government escorts had been removed, “a short grace period was requested to allow time to relocate a group of adults, some of whom have their children with them.” The hotel agreed to allow this, in light of COVID-19 and a hurricane.

Probublica reported back in May that the Trump administration was citing COVID-19 as an excuse to expedite deportations of minors, removing them from the custody of adults in the U.S. and deporting them alone, seemingly in violation of law.

Attorneys in lawsuits across the country argue that is a violation of both a 2008 law intended to protect migrant children from trafficking and a 1997 federal settlement forcing the government to hold such minors in “safe” conditions and make “prompt” efforts to release them.

The report notes that the children are often being removed from the care of adults in the U.S. — relatives or foster families — and deported, unaccompanied, across the border.

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