United States immigration agents raid 7-Eleven stores

U.S. immigration agents descended on dozens of 7-Eleven

DHS Checks 100 7-Eleven Stores for Immigration Fraud

According to ABC news, ICE agents in Koreatown, California came in and verified that the cashier had a valid green card and served notice on the owner to produce hiring records in three days to check employees' immigration status.

According to Derek Benner, another senior ICE official, Wednesday's operation is "the first of many", he told The Associated Press.

Last year, ICE said it conducted 1,360 employee audits, making more than 300 arrests on criminal and administrative violations, the Washington Post reported.

GONZALES: 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.

"As part of the 7-Eleven franchise agreement, 7-Eleven requires all franchise business owners to comply with all federal, state and local employment laws", the statement continued.

ICE said it arrested 21 people who are suspected of being in the country illegally, though none of the arrests were in the Northwest.

ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan, who recently told Fox News that officials in sanctuary city jurisdictions like San Francisco should face criminal charges for violating federal law, said in a statement that Wednesday's action was meant to send a message to employers.

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"When these audits occur, the employees scatter in the wind and go down the street and work for somebody else", she said.

It appears as if ICE is trying to intimidate employers who take a chance on immigrant workers. Federal agents were looking for workers that were hired illegally. He said there would be more employment audits and investigations, though there is no numerical goal.

Wednesday's operation arose from a 2013 investigation that resulted in charges against nine 7-Eleven franchisees and managers in NY and Virginia. All but one pleaded guilty to fraud charges and were required to pay more than $2.6 million in back wages.

However, the officials didn't reveal whether there was a specific reason for targeting the store chain which has 60,000 franchises worldwide and is famous for its Slurpee drinks. As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, the action is the largest such immigration enforcement operation conducted under the Trump administration.

The raids come as President Trump promised to increase scrutiny of immigration policies and to especially increase deportations of undocumented residents staying in the U.S.

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"This whole week has put an emphasis on how the Trump administration wants to continue exercising their xenophobic views", says Maru Mora Villalpando, an organizer with Northwest Detention Center Resistance.

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