Immigration agents raid 7-Eleven stores across the country
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News January 11, 2018 Updated: 9:15 AM PT
LOS ANGELES (Xiro Xone News) — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, raided multiple 7-Eleven stores just before dawn, Wednesday morning. Customers waiting in line were allowed to purchase their items and leave, while arriving customers waited outside as the raid was conducted. 7-Eleven Stores Inc said, “franchise owners are responsible for hiring and verifying work eligibility and have ended franchise agreements with owners who were convicted of breaking employment laws.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents served an employment audit notice on one hundred 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide. By opening employment audit, the agents can view records and interview workers, to verify they are in the United States legally and are allowed to work. Today’s raid netted 21 workers across the country that was arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally.
While watching intensely, a customer standing outside one location could be heard saying, “This is part of the President’s promise to protect American jobs.” That person seemed to think, no other President had done such a thing. When in fact, towards the end of George W. Bush's second term his administration pursued criminal investigations against employers after dozens of workers were arrested in early morning compliance raids.
ICE agents served the employer compliance notice on 17 states including the District of Columbia requiring employers to produce employee records within three days and failure to do so, could result in criminal charges or fines. A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said, “The operation was the first of many" and "a harbinger of what's to come for employers.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an employer said, “It sounds more frightening than it is.” And according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “The administrative inspection process is initiated by the service of a Notice of Inspection (NOI) upon an employer compelling the production of Forms I-9. By law, employers are, provided with at least three business days to produce the Forms I-9. Often, ICE will request the employer provide supporting documentation, which may include a copy of the payroll, list of current employees, Articles of Incorporation, and business licenses.
ICE agents or auditors then conduct an inspection of the Forms I-9 for compliance. When technical or procedural violations are found, pursuant to INA §274A(b)(6)(B) (8 U.S.C. § 1324a(b)(6)(B)), an employer is given ten business days to make corrections. An employer may receive a monetary fine for all substantive and uncorrected technical violations. Employers determined to have knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers under INA § 274A(a)(1)(a) or (a)(2) (8 U.S.C. § 1324a(a)(1)(a) or (a)(2)) will be required to cease the unlawful activity, may be fined, and in certain situations may be criminally prosecuted.
Additionally, an employer found to have knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers may be subject to debarment by ICE, meaning that the employer will be prevented from participating in future federal contracts and from receiving other government benefits. Monetary penalties for knowingly hire and continuing to employ violations range from $375 to $16,000 per violation, with repeat offenders receiving penalties, at the higher end.
Penalties for substantive violations, which includes failing to produce a Form I-9, range from $110 to $1,100 per violation. In determining penalty amounts, ICE considers five factors: the size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations.”
Most employers engaging in non-compliance are repeat offenders that are rarely prosecuted. One business owner not involved with the raid said, “they raid a few business to scare them and make news but the raid ends up in a fine that is never collected or reduced, so it will never be taken seriously.”
In a statement from ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan on the 7-Eleven Operation said, “Today's actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” said Thomas D. Homan, ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director. “Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet. ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration.”