Can hotels refuse to rent rooms to ICE?

This probably sounds like an odd question, but it came up when I was reading a report at the Daily Caller about various hotels being “pressured” by liberal groups to not rent out rooms to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the temporary detention of illegal aliens awaiting court hearings. It’s apparently not all that common of a practice, but it is an option that’s available when normal detention centers are overcrowded or the detention takes place at a location far from one of the normal facilities. Some hotel chains, including Marriott, have been buckling to this social justice warrior pressure and stating that they would prefer not to accept the business.

Unions and advocacy groups are pressuring hotels not to assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in housing detained migrants, in the latest showcasing of how the private industry is being dragged into the political battlefield of immigration.

Marriott, Hilton, Choice Hotels, Best Western, Wyndham, Hyatt, IHG and MGM Resorts all released statements explaining they do not wish to participate in the detention of migrants following President Donald Trump’s announcement of illegal immigrant arrests scheduled for the weekend of July 13, The Associated Press reported.

While the corporate position is made clear by each company’s statement, individual hotels are not necessarily barred from housing migrants since their franchise agreements do not prohibit migrant housing, according to AP.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to hotels. As the linked article notes, transportation companies including Greyhound, United Airlines and American Airlines have issued statements saying they would refuse to transport detainees to detention centers.

This leads to two obvious questions. First of all, on what basis can a private company offering public accommodations refuse such services? This is clearly a politically motivated decision. Is Marriott saying that they could also instruct their workers to refuse a room to anyone wearing a MAGA hat or a Bernie Sanders t-shirt if they find such things offensive? Seems to me that they would wind up on the losing end of a lawsuit fairly quickly if they did.

This doesn’t seem to be a case of a company declining to bid on a government contract (which they could obviously do) but rather individual cases of detainees needing a place to stay. That assumption is reinforced by the fact that Marriott admitted that individual franchisees could choose to ignore the guidelines and rent the rooms out. Since when are such businesses allowed to turn away paying guests based on their detention status or the law enforcement agency accompanying them?

The second question is why any supposedly “progressive” activist would want the hotels to turn them away. These groups are allegedly outraged that some detainees are kept in “cages” or left to sleep on cold floors. I’ve been to many Marriott rooms. (In fact, I’m a platinum level member of their reward program, though I’m reconsidering that now.) I can assure you that even in the most modest of their accommodations, the rooms are more than nice enough, with comfortable beds and clean bathrooms and showers. Would these activists prefer that the detainees be stuffed into a truck for an overnight ride to the aforementioned “cages” and put there? One would imagine they might like these illegal aliens to have a nice room and a shower.

Partisan liberal nonsense aside, the original question remains. When can companies deny service to paying customers based on the fact that they don’t like the completely legal, government jobs the officers hold? Most of the people they will be turning away would be from Mexico, Central or South America. Sounds kind of racist, doesn’t it?