Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

USA officials raid 7-Eleven stores amid crackdown on illegal

Hundreds of immigration activists clergy members and others participate in a protest against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies in front of the Federal Building on Jan. 11 2018 in New York City Immigration agents raid 7-Eleven stores nationwide, arrest 21 people in biggest crackdown of Trump era
Sammy Stanley | 14 January, 2018, 14:34

In a statement, 7-Eleven Inc., based in Irving, Tex., distanced itself from the situation, saying that the individual stores are franchises that belong to independent business owners, who "are exclusively responsible for their employees, including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States".

According to ICE, federal agents served inspection notices to 7-Eleven franchises in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State and Washington, D.C.

This week, a nationwide immigration sweep targeted 7-Eleven stores - nearly 100 locations nationwide - in what's being described as an unprecedented search for undocumented workers.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement targeted for inspections 7-Eleven stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

"7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws", the company said. Characterized as a "show of force" to highlight the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy with regard to undocumented individuals, this operation is the largest to date under the current administration. In raids at the Irving-based company, agents arrested 21 people suspected of being in the country illegally. In 2008, agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained almost 400 workers. John Sandweg, an acting ICE director under Obama, said significant fines instilled fear in employers and draining resources from other enforcement priorities.

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The news outlet reports that a Homeland Security investigation of multiple 7-Eleven franchises resulted in arresting nine owners as well as managers for conspiring to commit wire fraud, stealing identities and concealing as well as harboring illegal aliens employed at their store back in 2013.

Neither 7-Eleven nor its parent company, Seven & I Holding Co. based in Tokyo, was charged in that case.

"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. Hardliners have been pressing for a tougher stance on employers.

Wednesday's operations were low-key compared to the Bush administration's stings.

The manager was in Bangladesh and the owner, reached by phone, told the clerk to accept whatever documents were served.

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