(National Sentinel)Â Enforcement: Scores of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and others from the Department of Homeland Security swarmed 100 7-Eleven convenience stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday in what administration officials are calling the largest immigration action against an employer during the Trump presidency.
The multi-state raids underscore President Donald J. Trump’s campaign commitment to enforce all immigration laws currently on the books, which includes those related to employers who are suspected of hiring illegal aliens.
As reported byÂ The Associated Press:
The employment audits and interviews with store workers could lead to criminal charges or fines. And they appeared to open a new front in Trumpâ€™s expansion of immigration enforcement, which has already brought a 40 percent increase in deportation arrests and pledges to spend billions of dollars on a border wall with Mexico.
A top ICE official told the AP that the multi-state audits rolled out this week are just “the first of many” as well as “a harbinger of what’s to come” for U.S. employers.
â€œThis is what weâ€™re gearing up for this year and what youâ€™re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters,â€ Derek Benner, acting head of ICEâ€™s Homeland Security Investigations, which oversees cases against employers, told the newswire.
â€œItâ€™s not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry â€” big, medium and small,â€ he added.
FollowingÂ the inspections, officials plan to look at whether the cases warrant administrative action or criminal investigations, Benner noted.
The raids come as Trump took some flack this week for appearing to back down on his campaign pledge to oppose granting legal residency status to DACA recipients.
The program — Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals — was established via executive order by President Obama in 2012; Trump rescinded it in September and gave Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix.
Top lawmakers from both parties met with Trump during an open meeting at the White House to discuss options, but little was accomplished.
On Thursday, a report by McClatchy Papers claimed that some Republicans were complaining about top Trump policy adviser Steven Miller’s approach to immigration bill negotiations, saying he was demanding too much.
But, as the media organization noted, other Republicans reporters spoke to said members of their own party, not Miller, were to blame for refusing to back administration priorities.
Wednesdayâ€™s actions by ICE and DHS were aimed particularly at store owners and managers, though 21 workers across the country were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally, the AP reported.
Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said the surprise audits were â€œa good signâ€ that the administration was serious about going after employers. However, he told the AP the administration would need to go beyond those to be effective.
â€œItâ€™s important for Trump to show that theyâ€™re not just arresting the hapless schmo from Honduras but also the politically powerful American employer,â€ he said.
One way to cut down on the hiring of illegal aliens, who often work for below minimum wages, is e-verify, an electronic system immigration reform advocates say is vital for employers to ensure the workers they hire have a right to be in the country.
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