May 22, 2018

Immigration Enforcement Agents Raid 7-Eleven Stores in Nationwide Sweep

12 January 2018, 11:14 | Opal Carroll

At the Break of Dawn, ICE Inspected Dozens of 7-Eleven Stores

ICE Targets 100 7 Eleven Stores in Immigration Investigation

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 21 people in the raids, which were carried out in 17 states from California to Florida.

The Hellertown 7-Eleven was apparently one of almost 100 stores across the country visited by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents early Wednesday.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement carried out the raids on Wednesday.

In a statement, the federal immigration agency said Wednesday's actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses hiring and employing illegal workers that the government will enforce the law.

President Trump has made it increasingly hard for undocumented immigrants to assimilate into America, as they have either been sought out arrested from their own homes, or detained during immigration court cases.

Today's action follows up on a 2013 investigation in which nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers were arrested on suspicion of wire fraud, identity theft and harboring undocumented immigrants working for them, according to a statement from ICE. Notices of inspection are "a tool used by ICE to ensure that businesses are operating with employees who have proper work authorization", according to an ICE statement.

"It's not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small".

These new worksite enforcement actions appear to be a combination of both I-9 audits and arrest of unlawful workers and employers knowingly hiring these workers.

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

President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA) in 2012 to also give young immigrants the ability to work legally in the United States. Eight of those arrested during the previous investigation have pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $2.6 million in restitution to workers owed back pay. 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.

In response, 7-Eleven Inc. issued a statement saying that the company is not responsible for individual franchise owners' hiring decisions.

Wednesday's raids were made amidst intense political battle about a United States federal programme that shields from deportation young Caribbean and other immigrants who were brought illegally to the USA as children.

Store employees say agents asked for identification and some paperwork and left a short time later. "For those that don't, we're going to take some very aggressive steps in terms of criminal investigations to make sure that we address them and hold them accountable".

Employees of franchise stores are employees of the franchisee, not 7-Eleven, the company said.

The Trump administration said on Monday that the Central American migrants must leave or seek lawful residency, giving them an 18-month grace period.

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