US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store yesterday in Los Angeles.
Some 98 of the convenience stores nationwide - from Los Angeles to NY - were targeted by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whose top official described the raids as a warning to other companies that may have unauthorized employees on their payrolls.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement carried out the raids on Wednesday. ICE Acting Direct Thomas Homan said in October that he wants immigration agents to devote "four to five times" more time on illegal hiring investigations to crack down on employers and unauthorized workers alike.
"The reality is undocumented and refugee communities have been living in fear since this president became the President of the United States of America", said Gonzalez, adding, "I think this administration has shown they have an incredible bias to immigrants and refugees in general and undocumented immigrants in particular". ICE agents have made 40 percent more arrests in the past year.
7-Eleven, which has more than 8,600 stores in the US and is based in Irving, Texas, didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
ICE said it does not conduct raids, but said its "enforcement actions are targeted and lead driven".
Immigration officials say the Trump administration is implementing a new strategy for worksite enforcement, one that comes down harder on employers who give illegal immigrants an incentive to come to the U.S.in the first place. We are going to hold employers responsible. If they find any undocumented workers in the process, they arrest them.
Several have pleaded guilty and forfeited their franchises, and have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in back wages owed to the workers.
You can see in this surveillance video, agents working as part of the sweep, at a Santa Rosa 7-Eleven.
A woman walks into a 7-Eleven store in Washington, DC on January 10, 2018.
Officials at 7-Eleven Inc. said they are aware of ICE's actions at certain franchise locations and that the franchisee did the hiring the individuals, not 7-Eleven Inc.
The company said it has terminated franchise agreements in the past for owners convicted of violating those laws.
After the inspections, officials plan to look at whether the cases warrant administrative action or criminal investigations, Benner told the Associated Press.
According to the AP story, in addition to Pennsylvania ICE agents visited 7-Eleven stores in Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
"We've seen a huge increase in Central American aliens from Guatemala, El Salvador..."