I love motels. On my recent drive from DC to New Mexico, I stayed in many motels. In 2004, a girlfriend and I drove from DC to California and back and spent many nights in all manner of motels, from pristine enterprises to the sorts of rooms where the fear of catching clostridium difficile from the toilet is not entirely unwarranted. One thing that was common among almost all of the motels, though, was the faint (and often not so faint) smell of curry that hung in the air and clung to the bed clothes. For almost all of the motels were run by Indians.
After seeing the above motel sign in Las Cruces—and having seen many like it before—it finally occurred to me to look into this phenomenon. I came across this BBC article, which does raise the issue of the "American-owned" signage that's been popping up. My trouble has been figuring out whether such signs are no different from "Buy American" bumper stickers—and I have no objection to those—or if they betray and appeal to some racism. As with many things, it's almost certainly a mixture of both.