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.
According to ICE, federal agents served inspection notices to 7-Eleven franchises in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington State and Washington, D.C.
USA immigration agents descended on dozens of 7-Eleven stores before dawn Wednesday to open employment audits and interview workers in what officials described as the largest operation against an employer under 's presidency.
The chain with more than 8,600 convenience stores in the USA said it has previously ended franchise agreements for owners convicted of breaking employment laws. As NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, the action is the largest such immigration enforcement operation conducted under the Trump administration. Twenty-one people suspected of being in the US illegally were arrested.
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Then ICE can interview workers, she says, and get information to charge the worker or the employer. In 2008, agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained almost 400 workers. ICE noted that this raid was a follow-up on their 2013 investigation of 7-Eleven franchises. Several have pleaded guilty and forfeited their franchises, and have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in back wages owed to the workers. They were trying to root out employers whose workers may be in this country illegally. Part of the problem, Wood said, is the lack of "a consistent signal" between administrations that the US government will prosecute employers who hire immigrants without legal status.
Julie Myers Wood, former head of ICE during the Bush administration, said Wednesday's action showed that immigration officials were focusing their enforcement efforts on a repeat violator.
On January 10, 2018 ICE issued a press release setting forth its three-pronged approach to worksite enforcement compliance: "compliance, through I-9 inspections, civil fines and referrals for debarment; enforcement, through the arrest of employers, knowingly employing undocumented workers, and the arrest of unauthorized workers for violation of laws associated with working without authorization; and outreach, through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program, to instill a culture of compliance and accountability".
The manager was in Bangladesh and the owner, reached by phone, told the clerk to accept whatever documents were served.