Quick brief, 17 January 2024: Asylum-seekers, backed by political activists, refuse to leave hotel

17 January, 2024 Security

(Muir Analytics’ Quick Brief is broadly based on the Pentagon EXSUM briefing method. The aim is to quickly explain an evolving hotel threat issue in about 15 lines in executive summary format. Muir has added a quick analysis of the issue that can help hotels mitigate certain risks.)

Chain of events

  1. Fifty asylum-seekers in Tukwila, WA, who were temporarily moved into a hotel to protect them from cold weather, are now refusing to leave said hotel, says the Seattle Times.
  2. The property in question is the 3-star Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle-Tacoma Airport/Tukwila, located at 6955 Fort Dent Way, Tukwila, WA 98188, USA.
  3. The initial bill for the hotel stay was about $13,000, paid for by Riverton Park United Methodist Church, where 400 asylum-seekers have been camping out for an extended time, says the Seattle Times and the South Seattle Emerald.
  4. The asylum-seekers assert their living conditions at the church were plagued by “rodents, insects, and unsanitary conditions” that exposed them to sickness and disease, says the South Seattle Emerald.
  5. The political activist group International Migrants Alliance, USA (IMA), is backing the asylum-seekers’ actions.
  6. Meanwhile, the asylum-seekers in the Homewood Suites have established their own activist group, Hands United for Solidarity, to find funding to ease their plight, says the South Seattle Emerald.
  7. The IMA says the Chief of Police of Tukwila said the Riverton Park United Methodist Church camp needed to be closed, reports the South Seattle Emerald.
  8. Most of the asylum-seekers are from South America and Africa.
  9. Muir Analytics noted similar activist-led hotel takeovers – one “soft” and one “hard”/violent – in 2021. Read about those incidents here.
  10. The latter was done by the extreme left wing Tacoma Housing Now (THN) and Olympia chapter of Anarchist Mutual Aid Collective (AMAC), two organizations that expressed anti-police and Marxist type narratives.

Analytical takeaways

There are six takeaways. First, while the asylum-seekers plight is miserable and in need of compassion, if guests stay past their designated checkout time, no matter what the situation, the guests are trespassing, which violates criminal law and impedes tight housekeeping schedules and a hotel’s overall capacity to conduct business.

Second, according to Muir Analytics’ extensive statistics on hotel trespassing incidents, violence can result in such situations, complicating the violators’ plights with criminal proceedings, as demonstrated by the THN and AMAC incidents.

Third, such “soft” and “hard”/violent hotel takeovers can trigger insurance and lawsuit exposures. And even non-takeover scenarios where the homeless or refugees are housed in hotels can do the same. How so? Coverage language in hotel insurance contracts covers hotels as they normally conduct business for tourists and business travelers. There can be exceptions for extended stay hotels, but this is the norm. When hotels become homeless or migrant shelters, the clientele changes, which means the nature of the hotel business changes. According to underwriters, this phenomenon can negate coverages regarding damages, for example, as demonstrated by the 2021 case between MAve Hotel Investors and HDI Global Specialty SE, a Lloyd’s of London underwriter, says Insurance Business.

Fourth, cases like the Tukwila Homewood Suites and others mentioned here will continue if:

  1. The federal government continues to allow a de facto open southern border.
  2. State and local governments continue to promote sanctuary city status to illegal border crossers and the homeless.

Ceasing such policies and providing funding and non-hotel housing for asylum-seekers/refugees/homeless would ease pressure on hotels that are essentially “ambushed by trespass” by parties uninterested in the business aspect of hotel operations.

Fifth, political activists are playing an increasingly significant role in hotel protests, some of them “passively illegal,” as in the trespassing case in Tukwila. Other cases, such as those previously mentioned, are violent.

Sixth, threat/risk intelligence on such events helps hotels and law enforcement design proper crisis response plans. Muir Analytics, via its SecureHotel Threat Portal, provides that intelligence.

Muir Analytics runs the world’s largest, most sophisticated hotel violence database – the SecureHotel Threat Portal – with over 3,000 hotel attacks (and growing.) We can provide the hospitality sector with intelligence that facilitates full-spectrum risk reduction, which helps hotels protect guests, staff, buildings, brands, and revenues. Contact us for a consultation:  1-833-DATA-444.

Sources and further reading:

Asylum-seekers in cold-weather shelter hotels may not leave in protest,” Seattle Times, 17 January 2024.

Homeless refugees refuse to return to Tukwila church tents,” South Seattle Emerald, 16 January 2024.

Hotel sues Lloyd’s underwriters, HDI Global Specialty over denied insurance claim,” Insurance Business, 28 October 2021.

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