Marriott, Choice hotels say they would not serve as detention centers after ICE raids

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.

Trump on Friday confirmed plans for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in major U.S. cities this weekend, marking the second time in as many months that he has called for the deportation of “millions” of undocumented immigrants.

Trump tweeted last month that “millions” would be deported.

While administration officials have called that estimate an exaggeration, they confirmed that there are 2,000 people in as many as 10 cities who have been identified as top priorities for deportation.

Administration officials have internally discussed the possibility that they may need hotel rooms because of limited space in ICE detention centers, sources who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity told ABC News.

Concerns over that possibility have prompted activists to start online petitions to pressure hotel chains to refuse to house undocumented immigrants for the government.

A spokesperson for ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the hotel chains’ statements regarding cooperation with ICE in housing migrants rounded up in the raids.

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.

“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.”

PHOTO: The Marriott hotel in downtown Orlando, Florida, July 10, 2019.Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Marriott hotel in downtown Orlando, Florida, July 10, 2019.

Another large global chain, Choice Hotels — which owns Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Clarion, Ascend, Cambria and EconoLodge — sent a similar statement to ABC News.

“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.”

Hilton, Wyndham Hotels and Best Western — who are also under pressure from activists to deny facilities to ICE — did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment on Friday.

“It’s hard to underestimate the extent to which this type of operation stretches ICE’s logistics,” Brandon Wu, an organizer with immigrant rights’ group Sanctuary DMV, told ABC News.

“If they’re really talking about detaining tens of thousands of immigrants in the space of a few days, that is just a massive influx of people that could include renting vans from Enterprise and using hotels as overflow for detention centers.”

Enterprise, which is the target of online petitions asking them not to rent vehicles to ICE, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News on Friday.

Wu contended it was important to target hotels because “the raids they are threatening are specifically targeting families, and that includes children.

“And ICE cannot legally detain children in adult detention centers.”

“You can’t hold a family unit in an adult detention center, and so we’re making a push to get hotels to pledge not to cooperate with ICE, which would essentially put a big limit on the number of families with children they could actually detain at all,” Wu said.

Federal regulations dictate that when a migrant adult traveling with a child is not a parent or legal relative, the child is deemed an “unaccompanied alien child” and put in separate custody.

If an adult is arrested for a crime, the child would not be detained with them. Migrant children cannot be detained for more than 20 days.

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report.

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