WASHINGTON – US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained 21 undocumented immigrants on Wednesday during raids on 7-Eleven convenience stores in 17 states.
ICE agents interviewed nearly 100 managers and employees at 7-Eleven outlets.
“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,” ICE’s acting director, Thomas Homan, said in a statement.
Raids were conducted in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Texas and the District of Columbia.
Companies that employ undocumented workers encourage illegal immigration, Homan said.
“ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration,” he said.
In 2013, the Department of Homeland Security arrested nine 7-Eleven franchisees on charges that they provided undocumented workers with fake papers and even lodged migrant employees in their stores.
The franchise owners were also accused of wage theft.
The defendants were ultimately ordered to pay $2.6 million to workers who were shortchanged.