Hiltons Will No Longer Be Used As Detention Centers For Migrant Kids

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels

Hilton has issued a statement clarifying that its properties can’t be used as detention centers for detaining individuals, after it was determined that this was happening consistently at a few properties near the US border with Mexico.

Hampton Inns have been housing migrant kids

A few days ago news broke that immigrant children as young as one year old are being detained at Hampton Inn properties. They are sometimes being kept there for weeks, before eventually being deported to their home countries. This is happening as the US asylum system has largely been shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.

These immigrant children are being detained by private contractors working on behalf of US Immigration and Customers Enforcement, at Hampton Inn properties near the Texas-Mexico border.

Records show that these hotels have apparently been used more than 200 times.

There has been outcry regarding the way these children have been detained, since the children are exposed to the risk of trauma, as they’re detained in places not designed to hold them. There are also questions about the credentials of the contractors who are overseeing this process.

ICE has declined to answer questions, only referring to these contractors as “transportation specialists” who are “non-law enforcement staff members trained to work with minors and to ensure that all aspects of the transport or stay are compliant.”

A few days ago a video went viral of an attorney who was trying to offer help to these children at a Hampton Inn. He was violently shoved into the hotel elevator and was told he couldn’t help. The contractors refused to identify themselves.

As this has received more media attention, Hilton has finally issued a statement.

Hilton properties won’t be used as detention centers

Following the outcry over this, Hilton issued the following statement:

We believe that hotels should be places of hospitality.

Hilton has confirmed reports that the independently owned and managed Hampton Inn & Suites in McAllen, TX had accepted reservations from a private contractor working on behalf of U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement. We understand these reservations were to house migrants, including minors, as they were transported between locations.

This is not activity that we support or in any way want associated with our hotels.

Our policy has always been that hotels should not be used as detention centers or for detaining individuals. We expect all Hilton properties to reject business that would use a hotel in this way. We are in the process of contacting all Hilton owners and management companies in the U.S. to remind them of our policy, and provide guidance on identifying and preventing this type of business.

We can also confirm that Hilton did not facilitate these reservations and does not have an enterprise agreement with the private contractor.

The ownership of the Hampton Inn & Suites in McAllen has tonight confirmed that they have cancelled this business and that the minors and chaperones are no longer at the hotel. They have also confirmed that their property will not accept similar reservations in the future.

This is one of the challenges with the way the major hotel groups work. Hilton has claimed that this has been the policy all along, but the hotel just choose not to follow it. Hampton Inns are largely franchised properties and there’s limited oversight.

A couple of days ago Castle Hospitality, which owns the properties in questions, issued the following statement, supporting the practice, by claiming to offer clean and safe accommodation for children:

“We understand these properties have been used for their intended purpose — temporary accommodation for guests traveling between locations.

We are not making any political statements one way or the other by taking in this group and we feel that anyone, especially children in such difficult circumstances, is entitled to safe and clean accommodations and that’s what we aim to provide. In our conversations with the group contact, we have been assured that all state and federal regulations are being followed.”

Bottom line

Hampton Inns near the US-Mexico border have been acting as detention centers for migrant children. In some cases children were detained for weeks, and these kids were sometimes as young as one year old.

Hilton has now clarified that it doesn’t support this practice, so these contracts at Hampton Inns will be ending.

Comments
  1. So Ben,

    While I know the accommodations of a Hampton inn aren’t up to your St. Regis standards, where would you prefer they house these deportees? You can be assured that the regular CPB detention centers make the Hampton Inn more like a Ritz in comparison.

    I know I would much rather spend time in a Hampton Inn standard room than a cage.

  2. Surely migrant kids can’t enter because of the risk that they may catch coronavirus from an American and then they’d have that in addition to measles and tuberculosis from their home countries.

  3. No matter what one may think about illegal immigration, I’m sure these children were happier at a Hampton Inn than they will be at some random bare bones detention center somewhere.

    Sometimes good intentions lead to a terrible outcome.

  4. Naren – sssh. You are arguing against good brain stable geniuses. Or is it genii? I don’t know coz television women person hamburger coke.

  5. I’m a huge fan of One Mile at a Time. I’ve read it for many years and learned so much. I check it 2 or 3 times a day. Whenever anyone asks how I’m able to fly around the world in first class I refer them to your blog. You’ve probably had dozens of people sign up for credit cards from your links due to my referrals. I’ve followed your advice and flown in Emirates First to Dubai and stayed at Al Maha. I’ve got a trip coming up in ANA first where I plan to stay at the Andaz in Tokyo and the Park Hyatt in Kyoto. I’ve had dozens of other amazing experiences which I can directly attribute to your posts. I loved that your blog was somewhere where I could “get away” from the politics of the day and enjoy my hobby of traveling and points hacking. But, to my chagrin, your posts have become more and more political lately. I understand why. There is little actual travel or point hacking “news” going on, so you have to write about something, and I’m sure you get alot of clicks and comments on “controversial posts.” But, as a huge fan of your usual trip reports and points advice, I beseech you to focus more on those posts than on the controversial posts. There is enough of that everywhere else on the internet. Much like Al Maha, I’d love for One Mile at a Time to be a diamond in the rough, an oasis of calm in the desert of stress that is 2020. Thank you for everything you do and all your hard work, and I look forward to the world returning to normal along with your blog.

  6. This is outrageous. So much money wasted on renting out those properties, not to mention the damage done to them which would need to be paid for by government i.e. ourselves. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to build some camps ? Or, order them to build the camps? This would both give them something to do and lessen the burden on the taxpayers.

  7. “ trying to offer help” lol. He was trespassing and trying to create a viral video. You can tell he succeeded his mission by his grin at the end of the video. Looks like he helped move them back into cages – way to go dude! Hotel operators losing much needed income, and likely downgrading accommodations for the immigrant children. Also, by initiating the confrontation and refusing to leave, he initiated the violence. Give me a break.

  8. This is truly horrifying. And from so many angles. 1. The state abandoning it’s monopoly of force to goons accountable to no one, so they can cart around children more cheaply. 2. Separating the children from their parents for no reason but for a sadistic lust for cruelty. 3. Denying legal protection to these children. Of course the list could go on.
    I know these things might even be legal in that so called civilised state, but they ought not to be.
    Also: the whole situation is just so absurd. Just the image of child prisoners being led through a three star hotels lobby surrounded by tourists and travelers. So very cool and normal.

  9. I am a medical provider who directly works with these children who are detained at the border. Despite the “political” statements made by various medical organizations who make a 1 hour visit to take a photo and then decry the conditions I can assure you that the care of these children is excellent. Countless children have received medical care that wasn’t available in their countries of origin including routine vaccinations, urgent dental treatment, treatment for parasitic infections, and referral to medical specialists, and in some cases surgeries. Family units are kept together but the truth is many of the children have been sent to the border by their parents in the company of paid “coyotes” and the the travel itself has been stressful and dangerous for them. Once at the border they are receiving compassionate and caring treatment. They are sent to the US because our country, the US that so many of our own citizens deplore as a racist and wickedly capitalist society is seen by those who live under different forms of government aspire to live in for the opportunities and safety it provides.

  10. I’m a huge fan of One Mile at a Time. I’ve read it for many years and learned so much. I check it 2 or 3 times a day. Whenever anyone asks how I’m able to fly around the world in first class I refer them to your blog. You’ve probably had dozens of people sign up for credit cards from your links due to my referrals. I’ve followed your advice and flown in Emirates First to Dubai and stayed at Al Maha. I’ve got a trip coming up in ANA first where I plan to stay at the Andaz in Tokyo and the Park Hyatt in Kyoto. I’ve had dozens of other amazing experiences which I can directly attribute to your posts. I loved that your blog was somewhere where I could “get away” from the politics of the day and enjoy my hobby of traveling and points hacking. But, to my chagrin, your posts have become more and more political lately. I understand why. There is little actual travel or point hacking “news” going on, so you have to write about something, and I’m sure you get alot of clicks and comments on “controversial posts.” But, as a huge fan of your usual trip reports and points advice, I beseech you to focus more on those posts than on the controversial posts. There is enough of that everywhere else on the internet. Much like Al Maha, I’d love for One Mile at a Time to be a diamond in the rough, an oasis of calm in the desert of stress that is 2020. Thank you for everything you do and all your hard work, and I look forward to the world returning to normal along with your blog.
    – Trevor

    This story is relevant as it concerns a major hotel chain. I appreciate your civility, but if you support this then you should have no problem looking at it. Some things in life are ugly, and we should have to look at them from time to time to decide whether they’re really OK to us. Modern society makes it so easy to tune out the bits we deem necessary evils. I can only guess at why you don’t want to have to read this, but if you feel vilified by it, then maybe do some introspection.

  11. I am a medical provider who directly works with these children who are detained at the border. Despite the “political” statements made by various medical organizations who make a 1 hour visit to take a photo and then decry the conditions I can assure you that the care of these children is excellent. Countless children have received medical care that wasn’t available in their countries of origin including routine vaccinations, urgent dental treatment, treatment for parasitic infections, and referral to medical specialists, and in some cases surgeries. Family units are kept together but the truth is many of the children have been sent to the border by their parents unaccompanied in the company of paid “coyotes” and the the travel itself has been stressful and dangerous for them. Once at the border they are receiving compassionate and caring treatment. They are sent to the US because our country, the US that so many of our own citizens deplore as a racist and wickedly capitalist society is seen by those who live under different forms of government, aspire to move to for the opportunities and safety it provides.

  12. But, as a huge fan of your usual trip reports and points advice, I beseech you to focus more on those posts than on the controversial posts.
    – Trevor

    Come on, OMAAT, make me happy by just being a travel blog without a social conscience or any kind of conscience.

  13. Come on, Toaster, make me toast by just being a toaster without a social conscience or any kind of conscience.

  14. send all illegals back to their country. there is a legal way of entering the United States of America. if you cant follow the rules you should not be able to enjoy the benefits of living here

  15. @ Ben L. SO, enforcing our immigration laws makes ICE a criminal organization? Perhaps we should have no enforcement at all and allow any and everyone in without vetting them first, and then use taxpayer money to provide for them? Nevermind the poverty and homelessness in the US that that money could be better appropriated for alleviating.
    When a person goes to another country, they should do so legally. For example, I am a US citizen who currently resides in the Russian Federation. When I first came here to work, they wanted to know everything about who they were allowing into the country. Interviews, criminal background checks, proof of higher education and proof of the ability to support myself. Moreover, I had to have medical checks and even a psychiatric evaluation before I was cleared to work. I also pay Russian income tax (in addition to American taxes, but that’s another story).
    Additionally, I am terrified to break immigration laws in Russia. They generally enforce them quite vigorously. I think immigrants SHOULD be terrified of breaking immigration laws and enforcement agencies SHOULD be heavy handed in order to discourage further illegal migration.

  16. send all illegals back to their country. there is a legal way of entering the United States of America. if you cant follow the rules you should not be able to enjoy the benefits of living here
    – JOJO

    There is a significant distinction between an illegal immigrant and an asylum seeker, both in principle and in law. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified in 1948, of which the United States is a signatory, guarantees the right to seek and obtain asylum. You can’t abolish the asylum process. These people have a right to request asylum if they have a reasonable fear of persecution in their home country. And once here to do so, they also enjoy a right to due process.

  17. @Luke – You are correct there is a distinction between an illegal immigrant and an asylum seeker. However, an asylum seeker needs to enter in a port of entry, not crossing the border illegally. They also need to seek asylum in the first country they enter in (i.e. Mexico) and not pass through Mexico on the way to the U.S.

  18. Elizabeth…why not say exactly what is your medical job. Good medical care and compassion. Really seperating toddlers fronm their parents is good medical care. If you are truly “medical” you should know to include psychological trauma by this brutaliry. We have failed some children in Catholic churches and. in Boy Scouts and abusive homes and foster homes and……….some reports in detention camps….wait few more years to learn more.
    Worse defence of a bad policy and it will fail even some are revelling
    the atrocity.

  19. Who in their right mind would want to live in looney tunes US. Gun toting crime ridden festering swamp. God bless Australia.

  20. I guess people were prefer that children be held in frickin cages then? Its the hampton inn. Seriously what the hell is the problem? As for the guy claiming to be an attorney. None of these children were his clients, he showed up on the property screaming like a madman and they removed him. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want strange men showing up and gaining access to children they have zero connection to. You can raise questions about how qualified these people are to supervise children etc but after the numerous abuses we seen committed on children via various state foster care systems I would rather they be at the hampton inn. Sounds more like the people upset about this just don’t think they should be deported etc. That really has nothing to do with the use of hampton inns.

  21. would you rather have few strangers…..most men….guarding children in the night than one man trying to inquire about well being of children in day light. Hampton did the honourable thing just like airlines banned ferrying children at night by strange escorts.
    Come Jan 2021 and all these contractors will be replaced by clinical psychologists and child psychiatrists to try and undo the damage. I pay taxes and lots of it.

  22. @Luke – You are correct there is a distinction between an illegal immigrant and an asylum seeker. However, an asylum seeker needs to enter in a port of entry, not crossing the border illegally. They also need to seek asylum in the first country they enter in (i.e. Mexico) and not pass through Mexico on the way to the U.S.
    – David

    This is a new policy requirement put in place by the current administration to ban asylum requests after transiting another country. I don’t agree with it, and it has a dubious legal basis. The first paragraph in the article that Andrew linked above suggests this is an abrogation of the right to due process of asylum seekers:

    “The Trump administration is detaining immigrant children as young as 1 in hotels, sometimes for weeks, before deporting them to their home countries under policies that have effectively shut down the nation’s asylum system during the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.”

    This is potentially illegal under international law, and abhorrent to my personal principles.

  23. Peoples glibness in response to a human right disaster right here with our borders speaks volumes. The heartlessness towards children displayed under the guise of “law and order” is exactly why we have a Nazi in the oval office. Also people crying that they shouldn’t have to read blog posts that make them uncomfortable is an extraordinary act of willful ignorance. But honestly why am I surprised, a bunch of egotistical, classist, credit card loving scum would be a gaggle of Trumpite fascists.

  24. Hilton hotels in Hawaii are being used as detention centers. Guests from the 49 other states leaving their rooms are subject to arrest and forced removal from the state. If Hilton is going to have this policy it should be applied equally.

  25. Karen. I am an advanced practice practitioner (nurse practitioner) and perform the medical exams on the children. I am also a mother of 4 and a grandmother. I treat these children as I would want my own children treated, as do my co-workers. The vast majority of the children are relieved to arrive at the border facilities where they are provided with ample food, attention, in some cases schooling, and always a bed. In extremely rare cases are children separated from their parents but there are many children who arrive at the border unaccompanied by a parent or relative- having been sent alone to make the journey- most often to join a parent that they’ve already been separated from for in some cases years (and that was the parents choice to leave children behind to come to the US). So Karen you are correct that many of these children Have experienced psychological trauma but that is NOT the result Of the treatment they have received at a border detention facility but the circumstances that led to their arrival here. Please consider volunteering in your local community in the myriad of programs available that assist refugee children adjust and assimilate. It will be a good outlet for the passion you feel about this issue and maybe you will gain a new perspective on the compassion of the US government.

  26. @Elizabeth: cool, thanks for the propaganda. Have you seen those photos about how much fun these immigrants have been having at detention centers? They totally don’t look like Nazi propaganda about their concentration camps.

    @Jojo: seeking asylum is a legal reason to enter a country.

  27. @Anastasia- No need to see photos as these are my patients who I see live in person. The conditions at the border facilities are a major improvement over those that these families have come from in their country. ( The patients tell me the stories). Furthermore these families are aware of what they will encounter at the border as they are almost always in contact with friends and family who have gone before them and are now residing in the US. They have made their own decision to come and calculated that is the step they desire to take for themselves and their children. Care given at the border in many ways is above what an uninsured minor US citizen received. You believe what you want to believe so it fits the narrative you must want to be true- that the US government is evil and abusive. Please instead use your energy to tutor a refugee minor, provide a ride to a grocery store, shop for school supplies. Really easy to just talk or march…harder to do the work of serving others.

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