U.S. officials raid 7-Eleven stores amid crackdown on illegal


"We are going to be doing more of this work and dedicating more resources to make sure businesses are complying with the law", said Dani Bennett, an ICE spokeswoman.

The raids on Wednesday grew out of a 2013 ICE investigation that resulted in charges against nine 7-Eleven franchisees and managers in NY and Virginia who allegedly used more than 25 stolen identities to employ over 100 people who were in the country illegally.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said the raids were a warning to other companies that have employed undocumented immigrants.

Representatives for 7-Eleven say they take immigration laws "seriously" and terminate the franchise rights of independent owners who hire undocumented immigrants.

"7-Eleven franchisees are independent business owners and are exclusively responsible for their employees, including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States", the company said.

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Washington's Department of Licensing has been giving residents' personal information to federal immigration-enforcement officers, who used that information to arrest and deport people under the president's immigration policies, reports The Seattle Times. Many a 7-Eleven franchise has been a steppingstone for new legal immigrants who want to own and run their own small businesses.

ICE said Wednesday's operations were a "follow-up" on a into 7-Eleven franchises, according to a statement. All of those individuals have now been arrested as of November 2017, and eight out of the nine pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution for back wages.

Seventeen states were raided, those states included Oregon, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Washington D.C. ICE's actions against 7-Eleven are a clear indicator of keeping that promise.

The inspection notice, technically known as an I-9 audit, allows ICE agents to inspect government forms that verify employees' identity and their authorization to work within the United States. Last month, Trump commuted the 27-year prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, former chief executive of what was the nation's largest kosher meatpacking operation.

A version of this article appears in print on, on Page A16 of the NY edition with the headline: Immigration Agents Raid 98 7-Elevens in 17 States.