A nationwide immigration enforcement raid focusing on 7-Eleven stores included a check at a franchise in Koreatown. ICE officials in an unmarked vehicle checked ID for a lone employee at a location on James M. Wood Boulevard, KTLA reported. The employee had a valid green card.
Wednesday’s operation in 17 states and Washington DC was “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come” for work locations, one ICE official told the Associated Press. Authorities said 21 workers were arrested in relation to the raids, although the raid was intended to target store owners and managers.
More context from AP:
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. In 2008, agents arrived by helicopter at the Agriprocessors meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, and detained nearly 400 workers. Last month, Trump commuted the 27-year prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, former chief executive of what was the nation’s largest kosher meatpacking operation.
After the Wednesday operation, the 7-Eleven company issued a statement saying in part: “7-Eleven franchisees are independent business owners and are solely responsible for their employees including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States […] This means that all store associates in a franchised store are employees of the franchisee and not 7-Eleven Inc.”
The raid, part of the current administration’s enforcement-heavy stance on immigration, also comes at a time of conflicting messages on overall plans for reform. The president on Tuesday even floated the idea of normalizing the millions of people currently in the United States illegally, saying he’d “take the heat” for it from his supporters.
Yet his administration this week also announced it would end Temporary Protected Status for an estimated 190,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S. since at least 2001. The so-called “Dreamers” or recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, have been living a seesaw existence under Trump, with first word that the program would end, and then news on Jan. 9 that a federal judge had blocked the rescinding of the program.