ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan, who recently told Fox News that officials in sanctuary city jurisdictions like San Francisco should face criminal charges for violating federal law, said in a statement that Wednesday's action was meant to send a message to employers.
ICE would not say where the 7-Elevens were located, since it is an ongoing investigation by Homeland Security. Six of the stores targeted are in Dallas-Fort Worth. A driver delivering cases of beer was told to wait in the parking lot. A clerk told CBS13 agents had a very specific request.
Agents said the investigation began four years ago with a case against a franchise on New York's Long Island.
"It's not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small".
In a statement, 7-Eleven said that individual business owners "are exclusively responsible for their employees including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States".
In a statement, 7-Eleven said franchises are independent businesses, but as part of the franchise agreement, it requires stores to comply with all federal, state and local employment laws.
According to Benner, the sweeps will largely target those in management.
Agents asked employees for green cards and employers for hiring records. Businesses often calculate administrative fines as another cost of doing business.
"We were good", she said, declining to give her name. Federal agents were looking for workers that were hired illegally. Barack Obama more than doubled employer audits in 2013, according to ICE data.
The investigation uncovered nine store managers and franchises in NY and Virginia using fake identities to employ illegal immigrants.
Several have pleaded guilty and forfeited their franchises, and have been ordered to pay millions of dollars in back wages owed to the workers.
The operation marks the expansion of an investigation into a string of NY and Virginia franchises first opened in 2013, when it was discovered several managers there used stolen identities to employ at least 100 people in the country illegally.
But no one had dialed the hotline in connection to the 7-Eleven raids all day, though more than 400 volunteer legal observers have been trained and are ready to deploy to sites where help was needed, Medina said. "For employees, if you are not authorized to work do not falsely fill out a form I9 as it can preclude you from ever immigrating to the United States and it can preclude you from ever being able to naturalize", said Khan.