US immigration agents target convenience stores to nab illegal C’bean nationals

By CMC

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US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store yesterday in Los Angeles. (Photo: AP)

(CMC) – US Federal immigration agents on Wednesday arrested several undocumented workers when they descended on dozens of convenience stores across the country, targeting illegal Caribbean and other immigrants.

The agents descended on 7-Eleven convenience stores before daybreak, arresting undocumented workers and demanding paperwork from managers, in what the Trump administration described as its largest enforcement operation against employers so far.

The sweeps of 98 stores in 17 states, from California to Florida, resulted in 21 arrests, according to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which signalled intensified efforts against businesses that hire unauthorised workers.

“Today’s actions send a strong message to US businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” said Thomas D Homan, the acting director of the agency, in a statement.

Homan, the US’s top immigration-enforcement official, has promised more scrutiny of businesses that knowingly violate federal laws requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their workers.

Under President Trump, ICE has significantly expanded immigration enforcement, arresting undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants in their homes or when they check in with US federal agents as part of immigration court cases.

In a statement, 7-Eleven Inc, based in Irving, Texas, distanced itself from the situation, saying that the individual stores are franchises that belong to independent business owners, who “are solely responsible for their employees, including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States.”

“7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws,” the company said.

If ICE hoped to make a bold statement, it could hardly pick a more iconic target than 7-Eleven, a chain known for ubiquitous stores that are open all the time and sell the much-loved Slurpees and Big Gulps, the New York Times said in a report adding that several 7-Eleven franchises have been steppingstones for new legal immigrants who want to own and run their own small businesses.

ICE called its Wednesday sweep a “follow-up” of a 2013 investigation that resulted in the arrests of nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers on Long Island, New York and in Virginia on charges of employing undocumented workers.

Several have pleaded guilty and forfeited their franchises, and have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in back wages owed to the workers.

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.

In all, 16 of the 98 stores visited on Wednesday were in the New York City area, according to an ICE spokeswoman, Rachael Yong Yow, who would not specify the locations.

In Miami Beach, an employee at one 7-Eleven said that while no agents showed up at her store, her boss asked workers to make sure their employment records were up to date, in case ICE continued its visits, according to the Times.

It said agents dropped in on 7-Eleven stores in seven cities in southeast Florida, including Miami Beach, according to Nestor Yglesias, an ICE spokesman; he, too, declined to identify specific stores.

Wednesday’s raids were made amidst intense political battle about a US federal programme that shields from deportation young Caribbean and other immigrants who were brought illegally to the US as children.

Stating that the decision to kill the programme was improper, Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco wrote on Tuesday that the Trump administration must “maintain the DACA programme on a nationwide basis,” as the legal challenge to the US president’s decision proceed.

President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme (DACA) in 2012 to also give young immigrants the ability to work legally in the United States.

President Donald Trump moved to end the programme in September, saying that Obama’s actions were unconstitutional and an overreach of executive power.

This has reportedly set off a fierce debate in Washington as Democrats and Republicans spar about how to provide relief for about 800,000 immigrants who could face deportation when the programme ends on March 5.

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15 comments

  1. Three points:

    1. Does a competitor of 7-Eleven Inc have an official in their pocket? Couldn't they target other institutions (for example farms in Texas also)?

    2. Once you overstay or enter the US illegally you're taking a chance. Whether your luck runs out after 1 year or 20 year, to begin with you took a chance.

    3. Many people blame the US and their immigration policies but would you think the same if say 20,000 undocumented Venezuelans (nothing against them, just an example) entered St. Lucia illegally?

    (2)(2)
  2. Good! Get rid of parasite blacks!

    (7)(12)
    • Shut your hole Y'all whites more parasite and smelling!! Neanderthal!!
      At least they working for what they want y'all stealing what y'all want. Bunch of bleached thrives.

      (6)(3)
    • Whites were not parasites when they plundered Africa and the Native Americans? Yea fools. You don't stand a chance if you provoke Gods people, both black and white.

      (0)(1)
  3. OMG, this is so hateful, grudgeful, ungodly. no heart. Those people work ,to make a living, why do you do these things,my heart hurt to see this. I pray God will open a way for each and every one who is trying to live a decent life . DON'T WORRY GOD DOES NOT LIKE UGLY..........

    (15)(1)
  4. 98 stores + 17 states = 21 Arrest! Are u kidding me? What a stupid operation!

    (9)(1)
  5. Time to cohm back dong guys lmfao.

    Ok Ok on a serious note, I would never leave my sweet Helen to live as a fugitive in another man country. Always on the run from the law. Any day could be your last day before deportation. Thirsty for marriage for all the wrong reasons. Huddled up in some small apartment in dangerous neighborhoods. For what? Malls and shitty food? Mweh mem.

    There are so many legitimate ways to migrate to first world countries (Nursing program, Caribbean workers program, University, Elderly care programs, Skilled trade programs). It ain't that hard folks just take 1 or two years of dedication to meet the requirements and you'll be making three times what you do now and you will be completely legal.

    Why go the lazy man route where all you have to do is buy a plane ticket, or force yourself to sleep with some white whale? No effort, no reward. Now you living like a dog hiding from the white man.

    (14)(16)
    • ... oooook sounds like somebody must be off their PSYCHOTIC MEDS!!.. smh

      (5)(3)
    • You must be a J ass or have never traveled..

      (2)(6)
    • What an uneducated ignorant ass. You need to take a trip and educate yourself damm assss

      (1)(3)
    • you're absolutely correct

      "There are so many legitimate ways to migrate to first world countries (Nursing program, Caribbean workers program, University, Elderly care programs, Skilled trade programs)."

      (3)(1)
    • Speaking as a second generation immigrant, 50 years ago, my aged father shaved 10 years off his age to qualify for work in UK. He worked 70 hours plus a week for pittance for many years so that his wife and children can join him. He amassed our passage in the nick of time before immigration doors were closed on dependents. I am eternally grateful for his sacrifice and the opportunities he gave me, opportunities which St Lucia could not afford me.

      Migration eases the economic burden on the home country because migrants contribute to the development of the economy – by sending money back home, by build homes, by generating business and paying taxes. Increasingly, fewer countries are willing to give a break to fit and able migrants, and will provide opportunities only for the few well qualified or highly gifted and talented young people. The reasons often given are high unemployment among their own low skilled population and that migrants will compete for the same jobs as well as drive down wages, and further add to the cycle of poverty in the area they settle.

      (6)(1)
    • Poor guy/ lady, they never traveled. I feel for you bro/sis. If you had you would have known that there are several reasons why people migrate even under deplorable circumstances. Yet it is a boom for places for the US since these migrants are the wheels of these established economies. Everybody is an immigrant apart from the Native Americans. even the Presidents has his roots founded in migrant parents. To frown upon migrants now is part of a larger conspiracy to consolidate power for the powerful. However, there will be grave consequences if this goes unchecked.

      (3)(1)
  6. Hellen Niight next

    (0)(4)

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