Federal immigration agents targeted 100 7-Eleven stores across the country, including one in Culver City on Jan. 10, as the current administration tightens up on companies employing illegal immigrants.
According to a story in the L.A. Times, a total of 21 people were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally following the raids, and officials justified the action by saying that raids such as these will decrease illegal immigration by pressuring employers with fines and possible criminal charges.
“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,” acting ICE Director Thomas D. Homan said in a statement.
However, the raids targeted workers as well as employers, placing a bullseye on illegal immigrants in the future.
No arrests were made in Southern California, but Assemblyman David Chiu, a Democrat in San Francisco, is concerned.
“We’d been expecting raids like this when Trump declared war on our immigrant communities,” Chiu said to the LA Times. “We’ll be asking our state attorney general and the labor commissioner to look into whether our law was properly followed.”
“Worksite enforcement is critical to controlling illegal immigration,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, to the LA Times. “When employers start to realize they can’t get away with hiring illegal workers, that they stand to have their business disrupted because of illegal hiring, then they start doing due diligence and changing their hiring practices.”
Corporate management for 7-Eleven said that franchise managers are responsible for vetting the employees at their own branch.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “This obligation requires 7-Eleven franchisees to verify work eligibility in the U.S. for all of their prospective employees prior to hiring. 7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws.”