Immigration agents raid 7-Eleven stores nationwide, 21 arrested

Immigration agents raid 7-Eleven stores nationwide, 21 arrested

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

About a dozen investigations took place on Wednesday and the Trump presidency aims to continue targeting more stores across the country.

Los Angeles sources have stated that United States immigration agents had descended on dozens of 7-Eleven stores before dawn Wednesday to open employment audits and interview workers in what officials described as the largest operation against an employer under Donald Trump's presidency. They served audit notices, interviewed employees and managers and arrested 21 workers.

While no arrests were conducted this week, Florida has seen a sharp rise in illegal immigrants incarcerated this year after four consecutive years of those numbers dropping.

Under President Donald Trump, ICE has stepped up its efforts to arrest and deport illegal immigrants in the US.

Some 98 of the convenience stores nationwide - from Los Angeles to NY - were targeted by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose top official described the raids as a warning to other companies that may have unauthorized employees on their payrolls.

"In the past you've seen, for the most part, the raids target individuals or even specific communities".

For its part, Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven said in an emailed statement that its franchisees are independent business owners and exclusively responsible for who they hire and verifying who is eligible to work. "7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws". All but one pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million.

ICE called its Wednesday sweep a "follow-up" of a 2013 investigation that resulted in the arrests of nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers on Long Island and in Virginia on charges of employing undocumented workers.

In a statement, 7-Eleven Inc said its stores operate independently on a franchisee basis but they are required to adhere to all federal and local laws.

Employees at two 7-Eleven stores on Staten Island said that immigration agents visited the stores on Wednesday.

The Times said that when DOL gives information to ICE, it redacts a field on the driver's license application showing a Social Security number, but leaves visible fields showing where someone was born and the ID used (passports or other documents) - information that could be used as evidence of a foreign-born person who possibly could be in the country illegally. Part of the problem, Wood said, is the lack of "a consistent signal" between administrations that the USA government will prosecute employers who hire immigrants without legal status.

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