Hotels face battle over whether to help U.S. house migrants

News

In this July 8, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. Advocacy groups and unions are pressuring Marriott, MGM and others not to house migrants who have been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. But the U.S. government says it sometimes needs bed space, and if hotels don’t help it might have to split up families. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

DETROIT (AP) – There’s a new target in the clash over immigration: hotels.

Advocacy groups and unions are pressuring Marriott, MGM and others not to house migrants who have been arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

The U.S. government has occasionally detained migrants in hotels for decades and says it might have to split up families if hotels don’t help.

After the Trump administration announced plans for an immigration sweep last weekend and said it might use hotels, the big companies released statements saying they don’t want their hotels used to detain migrants.

They felt pressure from their unions as well as from customers angered by recent scenes of overcrowding at detention facilities.

But some hotel owners say they’d consider housing migrants because “it’s not our business to stand on one side of the debate or another.”

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