"7-Eleven franchisees are independent business owners and are exclusively responsible for their employees, including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States", the company said.
Within 20 minutes, they verified that the cashier had a valid green card and served notice on the owner to produce hiring records in three days.
Across the country, federal immigration officials served inspection notices at close to 100 7-Eleven stores in 18 states including two in Indianapolis, four in metro Detroit and five in Chicago.
In a statement, the acting director of ICE, Thomas Homan, said the actions were meant to send a strong message to employers that if they hire an illegal workforce, his agency will hold them accountable.
In a statement, 7-Eleven said: "We are aware of ICE actions taken at certain franchise locations".
Mr. Homan, the nation'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. An employee at a nearby convenience store told India-West he had heard about the early morning raid but could not confirm if anyone was arrested.
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President Donald Trump ran on a pledge to crackdown on illegal immigration, and under his administration, ICE has increased efforts to arrest and deport those in the country illegally.
George W. Bush's administration aggressively pursued criminal investigations against employers in its final years with dramatic pre-dawn shows of force and large numbers of worker arrests. Sholom Rubashkin, the chief executive of the Agriprocessors plant, which was then the largest kosher meatpacking operation in the country, was eventually convicted of bank fraud in federal court.
In Northern California, 7-Eleven stores in Napa, North Sebastopol, Santa Clara, Santa Rosa, Suisun City, and Petaluma were targeted. Several have pleaded guilty and forfeited their franchises, and have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in back wages owed to the workers.
ICE published news accounts of the 7-Eleven raids on its Twitter account to further emphasize its stringent enforcement priorities with regard to employers and undocumented workers themselves. "We have seen this administration target immigrants with status and without".
"It's important for Trump to show that they're not just arresting the hapless schmo from Honduras but also but also the politically powerful American employer", he said. The clerk told agents he had no knowledge of documents required to prove eligibility to work and was asked to pass along brochures for voluntary programs aimed at better compliance with immigration laws.