LOS ANGELES -- U.S. immigration agents descended on dozens of 7-Eleven stores before dawn Jan. 10 to open employment audits and interview workers in what officials described as the largest operation against an employer under Donald Trump’s presidency, the Associated Press reported.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents targeted about 100 stores nationwide, broadening an investigation that began with a 4-year-old case against a franchisee on New York’s Long Island. The audits could lead to criminal charges or fines over the stores’ hiring practices, according to the report.
The action appears to open a new front in Trump’s sharp expansion of immigration enforcement.
Wednesday’s operation resulted from a 2013 investigation that resulted in charges against nine 7-Eleven franchisees and managers in New York and Virginia. Eight have pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in back wages, and the ninth was arrested in November, AP said.
The 7-Eleven stores served on Wednesday will be required to produce documents showing they required work authorization, which is expected to become more common, according to AP. Audits may lead to criminal charges or administrative penalties.
Neither Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. nor its parent company, Japan's Seven & i Holding Co., was charged in that case.
7-Eleven Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Watch CSP Daily News for details.