ICE raids 7-Eleven stores to arrest illegal immigrants
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents yesterday arrested 21 people across the country on suspicion of being in the U.S. illegally. The agency targeted 98 7-Eleven franchised stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia.
ICE announced the action was the largest taken against a business under the Trump administration. The president has spoken against illegal immigrants as a candidate and since taking office. Thomas Homan, acting director of the agency, has pledged to ramp up workplace checks in recent months.
“Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” said Mr. Homan, in a statement.
ICE, according to a New York Times report, the sweep followed an investigation in 2013 that resulted in the arrests of nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers for illegally employing undocumented workers.
A statement issued by 7-Eleven corporate appears to put distance between itself and franchisees that may have hired illegal immigrants.
“7-Eleven franchisees are independent business owners and are solely responsible for their employees including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States. … As part of the 7-Eleven franchise agreement, 7-Eleven requires all franchise business owners to comply with all federal, state and local employment laws. … 7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws.”
A Los Angeles-based immigration attorney, Angelo Paparelli, told the LA Times that repeat violators face higher fines. While perhaps not likely, franchisors such as 7-Eleven may potentially be held liable in some circumstances.
- Immigration Agents Target 7-Eleven Stores in Push to Punish Employers – The New York Times
- Federal agents sweep nearly 100 7-Eleven stores in immigration investigation – Los Angeles Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do expect will be the impact on retail businesses in coming months in light of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement action at 7-Eleven stores across the country? What role, if any, do franchisors have to make sure that franchisees comply with local, state and federal laws?