DETROIT (WWJ) – Four Detroit-area 7-Eleven stores have been “put on notice” as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration.
Local immigration officials said the four local stores are among the nearly 100 7-Elevens across the U.S. which were served with what’s being called a “notice of inspection” on Wednesday. While on site, ICE agents conducted interviews with the stores’ employees and managers, and asking them to produce papers for employees to make sure they are working legally here.
Officials told WWJ Newsradio 950 one person was arrested in the metro Detroit investigations; among a total of 21 people arrested nationwide.
In 2013, HSI conducted an investigation into various 7-Eleven franchises that resulted in the arrest of nine franchise owners and managers for conspiring to commit wire fraud, stealing identities and concealing and harboring illegal aliens employed at their stores, according to a news release. All but one, who remained a fugitive until his arrest in November 2017, pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution for back wages stolen from workers.
ICE said Wednesday’s service of NOIs throughout the U.S. serves as a follow-up to ensure the company has taken the proper steps towards more responsible hiring and employment practices. A total of 98 7-Eleven locations were served, in Michigan, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Washington, D.C.
The action appears to open a new front in Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement, which has already brought a 40 percent increase in deportation arrests.
ICE states that, under the current administration, all workers encountered during these investigations who are unauthorized to remain in the U.S. are subject to administrative arrest and removal from the country.
“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 ICE Deputy Director Thomas Holman. “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.”
7-Eleven Stores Inc., based in Irving, Texas, said in a statement that the owners of its franchises are responsible for hiring and verifying work eligibility.
The names of those in custody were not immediately released.
The investigation is ongoing. ICE says any potential criminal charges or other penalties will be coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice.
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