Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

7-Eleven probe opens new front on immigration — APNewsBreak

Stacy Diaz | 13 January, 2018, 07:07

An ICE agent told the Washington Post that the company has three days to provide the legal documents of those arrested.

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.

Under President Trump, ICE has significantly expanded immigration enforcement, arresting undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants in their homes or when they check in with USA federal agents as part of immigration court cases.

ICE says it's targeting employers in these raids, but the employees are the ones who are being arrested right now.

In a statement, ICE said it interviewed employees and managers in 18 states and Washington, D.C.

"It's not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small", he said.

According to ICE, the investigation remains ongoing and any potential criminal charges or other penalties will be coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice.

A total of 21 people suspected of being unauthorized workers were arrested and ordered to appear in immigration court across 98 stores.

The I-9 form was mandated for employers by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which requires employers to verify a hire's employment eligibility and to maintain the form for inspection. Administrative fines are discounted by some as a business cost. He said he would support legitimate employer audits but he does not believe that's what this was. "You're playing whack-a-mole". George W. Bush aggressively investigated businesses for illegal hiring during his final term. Federal agents were looking for workers that were hired illegally.

When asked about what had happened, Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp said, "it was something with paperwork between the 7-11 and the government".

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.

Last year, ICE released data showing that undocumented arrests in Florida spiked 75 percent after Trump took office.

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

The Trump administration warned more raids are on the horizon.

"Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet".

Some immigration hardliners have been pressing Trump to move against employers. But, he said, the administration would need to go beyond audits.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents executed the action early Wednesday morning. A clerk told CBS13 agents had a very specific request.

"We were good", she said, declining to give her name.