7-Eleven probe opens new front on immigration — APNewsBreak

Andrew Cummings
January 13, 2018

Hellertown Mayor David Heintzelman said news of the raid was unexpected. Wednesday's coordinated operation appears to be the largest crackdown on a single company since Donald Trump took office almost one year ago. He continues: "Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet".

Agents targeted about 100 stores nationwide, broadening an investigation that began with a 4-year-old case against a franchisee on New York's Long Island. It's easy to blame the president alone for the increase in immigrant arrests, but that increase doesn't tell the whole story: Trump's spike past year still didn't come close to topping the peak reached under Barack Obama.

Homan is leading the agency while he awaits confirmation to his appointment as director. George W. Bush aggressively investigated businesses for illegal hiring during his final term. "For employees, if you are not authorized to work do not falsely fill out a form I9 as it can preclude you from ever immigrating to the United States and it can preclude you from ever being able to naturalize", said Khan.

In the latest sweeps, ICE said that 21 individuals suspected of being in the country illegally were arrested and cited to immigration court for their violations.

The early morning raids appear to be the Trump administration's latest move to strengthen immigration policies their enforcement
The early morning raids appear to be the Trump administration's latest move to strengthen immigration policies their enforcement

7-Eleven stores are a chain of ubiquitous convenience store franchises that are very popular with newly minted legal immigrants, a large number of whom are of South Asian descent, including Indian.

Sixteen of the stores were in the New York City area.

The company's franchisee agreement "requires all franchise business owners to comply with all federal, state and local employment laws", said the statement from 7-Eleven.

ICE characterized its action Wednesday as a "follow-up" to actions it took against 7-Eleven franchises in 2013.

Wednesday's audits arose from a 2013 investigation that resulted in charges against nine 7-Eleven franchisees and managers in NY and Virginia.

This comes at a time of a surge in immigration arrests.

From Jan. 20 to September 30, 2017, ICE officers arrested 110,568 people, a 42 percent increase over the same time period past year, according to the ICE website.

The 7-Eleven stores served on Wednesday will be required to produce documents showing they required work authorization, which Benner said will become more common. John Sandweg, an acting ICE director under Obama, said significant fines instilled fear in employers and avoided draining resources from other enforcement priorities, which include child exploitation, human trafficking and money laundering.

Authorities went to the stores to ask for employee documentation and conduct interviews, officials said.

Store owners and managers have three days to provide information about their employees' immigration status.

If employers are found not to be in compliance, it can result in civil fines and potential criminal prosecution.

"This is just part of the same tactic to intimidate the immigrant community", Campos said.

The White House has said they are focused on deporting undocumented immigrants who "pose a threat to this country", but advocates say undocumented immigrants without criminal records are being detained by ICE.

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