The US immigration authorities raided nearly 100 7-Eleven stores, largely owned by Indian-Americans, arrested more than 21 people and warned businesses against employing illegal immigrants. The nation-wide crackdown is said to be part of the effort of the Trump administration to warn businesses against hiring illegal immigrants. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), whose officials carried out the raid in 18 States and the District of Columbia, arrested more than 21 people. But the ICE did not identify the nationalities of those arrested. A large number of 7-Eleven convenience stores in the US are owned by Indian-Americans. “Today’s actions send a strong message to US 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,” said Thomas D Homan, ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director. “Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet. ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration,” Homan said. The ICE did not release any further details.
News reports said that no charges against businesses were filed yesterday, but during the raid its official interviewed store owners and its employees. The 21 employees from various stores arrested on charges of being illegal now faces deportation. In a statement, 7-Eleven Inc said its stores operate independently on a franchisee basis but they are required to adhere to all federal and local laws. The company has more than 8,600 stores across the country. “7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws,” the Dallas-headquartered company said in a statement. In the coming days, the ICE is expected to carry out more similar raids across the country as part of the Trump administration’s efforts against illegal immigrants in the country. After Trump entered the White House, the ICE has intensified its efforts against illegal immigrants.