Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Immigration agents target 7-Eleven stores in 17 states

Immigration agents target 7-Eleven stores in 17 states

"ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable".

In a statement, 7-Eleven Inc said its stores operate independently on a franchisee basis but they are required to adhere to all federal and local laws. At one point, Washington was one of only a few states to give licenses to such immigrants, and now is among 12, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. "Today's actions send a strong message to USA businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce", ICE's Acting Director Thomas D. Homan said in a statement.

"ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration", he added.

A top official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday's operation was "the first of many" and "a harbinger of what's to come" for employers.

After inspections, officials plan to look at whether the cases warrant administrative action or criminal investigations, Benner said.

Devere said the department's practices are longstanding and stressed that they won't provide "database dumps" that allow ICE to do a search, for example, on everyone born outside the U.S. Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said Wednesday events offered "a good sign" that the administration was serious about going after employers.

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.

"7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws", the Dallas- headquartered company said in a statement.

MICHAEL KAUFMAN: There were a large number of workers who were arrested, but at the end of the day, it did not create a large deterrent, and it did nothing to solve the problem of the many undocumented workers that remain here contributing to our economy and supporting their families. And under him, ICE has reportedly made almost 40 percent more arrests.

ICE described Wednesday's sweep as a follow-up enforcement operation that built on a 2013 raid resulting in the arrests of nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers. Eight have pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in back wages, and the ninth was arrested in November.

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