The United States Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agents have descended on a dozen 7-Eleven Stores Wednesday.
ICE Agents began employment Audits and interviewed workers in what is being called the largest operation against an employer under the Trump Presidency.
The action appears to open a new front in Trump’s sharp expansion of immigration enforcement, which has already brought a 40% increase in deportation arrests and plans to spend billions of dollars on a border wall with Mexico. Hard-liners have been pressing for a tougher stance on employers.
Derek Benner, a top official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the Associated Press that Wednesday’s operation was “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come” for employers. He said there would be more employment audits and investigations, though there is no numerical goal.
“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. From there, we will look at whether these cases warrant an administrative posture or criminal investigation,” said Benner, acting head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, which oversees cases against employers.
“It’s not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small,” he said. “It’s going to be inclusive of everything that we see out there.”
7-Eleven Stores Inc., based in Irving, Texas, with more than 8,600 stores in the U.S., didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Though agents arrested 21 people suspected of being in the country illegally during Wednesday’s sweep, the action was aimed squarely at management.
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