Immigration Enforcement Agents Raid 7-Eleven Stores in Nationwide Sweep
Immigration Enforcement Agents Raid 7-Eleven Stores in Nationwide Sweep
Immigration Agents Have Targeted Nearly 100 7-Eleven Stores In A Nationwide Sweep
13 January, 2018, 07:04
Two Delaware 7-Eleven convenience stores were among the 98 targeted Wednesday by federal agents cracking down on illegal workers, according to immigration officials.
The audits could lead to criminal charges or fines to the stores' hiring practices.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Tom Homan, on Thursday, said illegal immigration from Mexico to the U.S. has declined. In addition, Homan said that, "ICE will continue its efforts to protect the jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration".
The payroll audits give the franchise owners a few days to show that their employees are not illegal immigrants.
"We've already increased the number of inspections and worksite operations, you're going to see that significantly increase this next fiscal year".
7-Eleven stores are based in Irving Texas with more than 8,600 stores in the United States.
The raid comes as immigration has moved to the fore in Washington, and President Donald Trump has said he could support allowing so-called Dreamers to stay in the country if Democrats sign on to additional border security funding.
"It's not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small", he said. Those owners were accused of hiring employees living illegally in the United States and giving them identities stolen from US citizens.
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"7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws", it said in a statement. ICE agents have made 40 percent more arrests in the past year.
Several have pleaded guilty and forfeited their franchises, and have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in back wages owed to the workers.
One 7-Eleven employee who asked that his name not be used for fear of retaliation on the part of the government, called news of the operation, "crazy", and blamed President Trump's hardline immigration policies.
US Federal immigration agents on Wednesday arrested several undocumented workers when they descended on dozens of convenience stores across the country, targeting illegal Caribbean and other immigrants.
According to The Associated Press, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said that this raid was "the first of many".
The Washington Post reported on January 3 that the hotel chain Motel 6 would have been routinely delivering lists of personal information from guests whose names "sounded Latino" to ICE agents.
Officials at 7-Eleven Inc. said they are aware of ICE's actions at certain franchise locations and that the franchisee did the hiring the individuals, not 7-Eleven Inc.
The investigation into 7-Eleven franchises started in 2013 after nine franchise owners were arrested for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, identity theft and harboring undocumented immigrants.
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This means that all store associates in a franchised store are employees of the Franchisee and not 7-Eleven, Inc. Rezaei noted the increase in targeting of immigrants since the advent of the Trump administration.
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