U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continued the crackdown on illegal immigration that has been a focus under the Trump administration, sending agents to 7-Eleven stores across the country to verify the immigration status of employees, according to The Washington Post.
ICE agents visited 98 stores and made 21 arrests as they interviewed employees and delivered audit notifications to franchise owners.
Why are they doing this?
According to Thomas Homan, ICE’s top official, “Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”
How much ground did they cover?
Agents hit stores at 6 a.m. Wednesday, including locations in 17 states and the District of Columbia: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
7-Eleven has more than 60,000 stores worldwide and is based in Irving, Texas.
How did 7-Eleven respond?
By reminding everyone that individual franchise owners are responsible for complying with the law, and that they will terminate any franchise agreement of an owner who is convicted.
“7-Eleven Franchisees are independent business owners and are solely responsible for their employees including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States,” a statement read.
Is this going to be a trend?
It looks like it. ICE conducted 1,360 employee audits last year resulting in more than $97 million in fines, forfeitures and restitution.
“We are going to be doing more of this work and dedicating more resources to make sure businesses are complying with the law,” said ICE spokeswoman Dani Bennett.