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What’s Next for Immigration Raids?

Panelists discuss just how concerned retailers should be

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- January’s raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on nearly 100 convenience stores came with a message: There will be more to come.

And yet, when asked during CSP’s Convenience Retailing University if they were concerned about their stores being included in a future sweep, a majority of retailers at the conference were unconcerned.

“I don’t blame you folks who are skeptical,” said attorney Manuel Saldana during a general-session panel discussion. “[ICE] put out a lot of resources for little results.” In the January case, hundreds of ICE agents swept 98 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country, resulting in just 21 arrests.

“This wasn’t about sweeping up illegals,” said Saldana, a partner with Gordon & Rees, San Francisco. “It’s about telling employers to keep your paperwork in order.”

Co-panelist Joseph Kefauver, managing partner with Align Public Strategies, agreed, but he said there are some exceptions. “They are going to stay on the high-profile type of raids,” Kefauver said. “[Trump] has to show his base action, and these raids are action even if they don’t get much done in the way of results.

“This administration has declared war on the sanctuary states," he continued. "So if you’re in Illinois, California or New York, I’d keep my guard up.”

And that sets up a fine line for employers to walk.

“This industry is going to be under the microscope,” Kefauver said. “But don’t start discriminating against people. Don’t start thinking, ‘Oh, you look a little bit different.’ Hire good workers and keep that paperwork straight.”

Saldana seconded that, saying the message employers should take away from the recent raids is to maintain employment records. “I don’t see people going to jail except in extreme circumstances,” he said. But fines--$100 here and $200 there--could add up. “It’s all about keeping your paperwork in order.”

That means:

  • Up-to-date I-9 forms for employment eligibility verification.
  • Copies of legal IDs, whether state identification cards, driver’s licenses or green cards.
  • Regular use of E-Verify, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web-based system to determine the eligibility of employees to work in the United States.

“From a legal perspective, you’re going to want that backup that shows you enrolled in E-Verify,” Saldana said, “and if it fails, that’s not your fault.”

CSP’sConvenience Retailing University conference was held Feb. 21-23 in Glendale, Ariz.

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