ICE agents arrested 21 people after raiding some 98 7-Eleven convenience stores in 17 states early Wednesday morning. The agents gave the franchise owners and managers three days to produce documentation of their employees’ immigration statuses.
DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen said in a "Fox News Sunday" interview to expect more ICE raids on businesses that have hired illegal aliens.
"Yes, and the message we're trying to send is if you consistently and willfully ignore the laws congress and the American people have passed, and you will be held accountable. These are not accidental hirings of illegal immigrants. Some of these companies unfortunately have continually and systematically tried to get around the system."
The raids on the convenient store chain come after an investigation conducted by the agency in 2013 on nine 7-Eleven managers and franchises in Virginia and New York who were charged with allegedly using over 25 stolen identities to hire 100 illegal aliens. The investigation resulted in the arrest of one of the accused while the other eight pled guilty and were sentenced to pay over $2.6 million back in wages.
Top ICE official, Derek N. Benner said that large companies are not the only ones that the agency is targeting and that last week’s raids are “a harbinger of what’s to come” for businesses that exploit illegal immigration.
“This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters,” Benner said. “From there, we will look at whether these cases warrant an administrative posture or criminal investigation.”
7-Eleven responded to the ICE raids in a statement saying that “independent business owners” of each franchise are “solely responsible for their employees, including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States.
“7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws.”
Under Pres. Trump ICE has arrested 40 percent more illegal aliens than under the previous administration.
Updated: Tue, Jun 5th 2018 @ 11:47am EDT