ICE Announces Enforcement Priorities, Raids Nearly 100 7-Eleven Stores

Washington state driver licensing office

Washington state driver licensing office

Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has said he will "significantly" increase work site raids because immigrants will be more hesitant to illegally enter the US if there are no jobs for them.

"This obligation requires 7-Eleven franchisees to verify work eligibility in the United States for all of their prospective employees prior to hiring", the company noted in a statement to the press.

Under President Trump, ICE has significantly expanded immigration enforcement, arresting undocumented immigrants in their homes or when they check in with federal agents as part of immigration court cases.

7-Eleven Franchisees are independent business owners and are exclusively responsible for their employees including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States.

"7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws", the company said. Indian Americans own numerous franchises across the country.

Not all franchisees have been scrupulous about whom they hire.

Unlike other enforcement efforts that have marked Trump's first year in office, Wednesday's actions were aimed squarely at store owners and managers, though 21 workers across the country were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally.

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Eight of the accused wound up pleading guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in back wages.

"This definitely sends a message to employers", said Ira Mehlman, the spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors more limits on immigration and stricter enforcement. Employers are required to produce their company's I-9s within three business days, after which ICE will conduct an inspection for compliance.

On Wednesday, ICE about the raids on its Twitter account.

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

Vaughan said the worker roundups under Bush largely ignored the employers' role in helping undocumented immigrants get jobs.

Any employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers will be arrested, along with the unauthorized worker, according to ICE. Working immigrants, documented or not, have every right to be very afraid the federal government will humiliate them at work for the crime of not looking like a white American. Last month, Trump commuted the 27-year prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, former chief executive of what was the nation's largest kosher meatpacking operation. In 2008, agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained almost 400 workers. The raid was in May 2008, not July.

ICE is temporarily shutting down 7-Eleven stores in the District of Columbia and in 17 states including California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.

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