Feds raid 7-Eleven stores in 17 states, D.C. to check for immigration fraud

by WorldTribune Staff, January 11, 2018

Federal immigration officers conducted payroll audits at some 100 7-Eleven stores in an effort aimed at stopping the hiring of illegal aliens.

ICE official Derek Benner: ‘You’re going to see more and more of these large-scale compliance inspections.’

The Jan. 10 operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) included visits to 7-Eleven stores in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Washington, D.C.

The payroll audits give the franchise owners a few days to show that their employees are not illegal immigrants. So far, 21 suspected illegals have been picked up in the visits.

Derek Benner, a top official at ICE, told The Associated Press the Jan. 10 operation was “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come” for employers.

“This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters. From there, we will look at whether these cases warrant an administrative posture or criminal investigation,” said Benner, acting head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, which oversees cases against employers.

“It’s not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small,” he said. “It’s going to be inclusive of everything that we see out there.”

ICE director Thomas Homan said in a statement: “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 … 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.”

An estimated 8 million illegals are working in the U.S.

In the 2017 fiscal year, ICE said it conducted 1,360 audits and made 139 criminal arrests and 172 administrative arrests. Businesses were ordered to pay $97.6 million in judicial forfeiture, fines and restitution and $7.8 million in civil fines, including one company whose financial penalties represented the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

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