ICE Raids 7-Eleven Stores Across U.S., Promises More to Come

January 11, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Federal immigration agents Wednesday raided nearly100 7-Eleven franchise stores in 18 states and Washington, D.C., including four in Los Angeles and one in Culver City, in the largest operation against an employer under Donald Trump’s presidency.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents served “notices of inspection” —  also known as I-9 audit notices — to 98 7-Eleven franchise stores, and conducted interviews with the stores’ employees and managers. Notices of inspection are “a tool used by ICE to ensure that
businesses are operating with employees who have proper work authorization,” according to the federal agency.

Twenty-one people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally were administratively arrested and given notices to appear in immigration court, according to ICE.

Five stores were raided in Southern California — four in Los Angeles and one in Culver City, said ICE spokeswoman Lori K. Haley.

ICE did not release specific locations, but one of the stores was in the Koreatown area, where a lone employee with a valid green card was working when more than a half-dozen agents arrived and closed the store for about 20 minutes, according to The Associated Press. The agents, who arrived in unmarked cars, told arriving customers that the store was closed briefly for an inspection.

Derek Benner, a top official at ICE, told the AP that the operation was “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come” for employers.
He said there would be more employment audits and investigations, though there
is no numerical goal.

“This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters. From there, we will look at whether these cases warrant an administrative posture or criminal investigation,” said Benner, acting head of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, which oversees cases against employers.

“It’s not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small,” Benner said. “It’s going to be inclusive of everything that we see out there.”

In 2013, ICE conducted an investigation into various 7-Eleven franchises that resulted in the arrest of nine franchise owners and managers for conspiring to commit wire fraud, stealing identities and concealing and harboring illegal immigrants employed at their stores. All but one — who remained a fugitive until his arrest in November 2017 — pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution for back wages stolen from workers.

Tuesday’s notices of inspections were served in Washington, D.C., and in the states of California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Stores Inc., which has more than 8,600 stores nationwide, released a statement in response to the raids, saying its “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.

“As part of the 7-Eleven franchise agreement, 7-Eleven requires all franchise business owners to comply with all federal, state and local employment laws,” the statement continued. “This obligation requires 7-Eleven franchisees to verify work eligibility in the U.S. for all of their prospective
employees prior to hiring. 7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws.”

Benner said the Trump administration is pursuing “its own kind of unique strategy” tied to its broader emphasis on fighting illegal immigration, including enforcement on the border. Some workers may get arrested in the operations, but authorities are targeting employers because they are job magnets for people to come to the country illegally.

“We need to make sure that employers are on notice that we are going to come out and ensure that they’re being compliant,” Benner said. “For those that don’t, we’re going to take some very aggressive steps in terms of criminal investigations to make sure that we address them and hold them accountable.”

La Casa Blanca se opone a nuevo plan para proteger a jóvenes indocumentados

July 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

WASHINGTON —La Casa Blanca sugirió miércoles  que el presidente, Donald Trump, no apoyará un proyecto de ley bipartidista que se presentará este jueves y que establecería una vía hacia la ciudadanía para ciertos jóvenes indocumentados que llegaron al país de niños, conocidos como “soñadores”.


El presidente, Donald Trump aseguró la semana pasada que lo que le gustaría es impulsar una reforma migratoria integral, pero consideró que Estados Unidos y sus fuerzas políticas “aún no están listas” para eso.

El presidente, Donald Trump aseguró la semana pasada que lo que le gustaría es impulsar una reforma migratoria integral, pero consideró que Estados Unidos y sus fuerzas políticas “aún no están listas” para eso.

“La Administración (de Trump) se ha opuesto al ‘Dream Act’ y es probable que sea coherente con eso”, dijo el director de asuntos legislativos de la Casa Blanca, Marc Short, en una conferencia de prensa.

El “Dream Act” es un proyecto de ley que se presentó por primera vez en el Congreso estadounidense en 2001, y que ha vuelto a introducirse varias veces desde entonces pero siempre sin éxito.

Los senadores Dick Durbin, demócrata, y Lindsey Graham, republicano, tienen previsto presentar este jueves una nueva versión del “Dream Act”, que permitiría a los jóvenes indocumentados obtener la residencia y más tarde la ciudadanía estadounidense si cumplen varias condiciones.

Esos requisitos son haber llegado al país de niños, haberse graduado del instituto; haberse inscrito en estudios universitarios, trabajado legalmente durante casi tres años o haber prestado servido en el Ejército, y no haber cometido crímenes, entre otros.

Ante el fracaso de los esfuerzos en el Congreso para aprobar el “Dream Act”, el expresidente Barack Obama impulsó una solución que consideraba temporal, el llamado programa de Acción Diferida (DACA), que ha evitado la deportación de 800.000 jóvenes indocumentados que llegaron a EEUU de niños.

En junio, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional emitió un memorando en el que aseguraba que DACA “seguirá en efecto”.

No obstante, por el momento, el Gobierno no ha tomado una decisión sobre el futuro de ese programa, aunque el presidente, Donald Trump, ha repetido que este “es uno de los temas más difíciles” con los que se enfrenta en su Presidencia y aseguró que lo encarará “con corazón”, sin dar más detalles.

Trump aseguró la semana pasada que lo que le gustaría es impulsar una reforma migratoria integral, pero consideró que Estados Unidos y sus fuerzas políticas “aún no están listas” para eso.

Texas y otros nueve estados han amenazado con demandar al Gobierno si no elimina DACA antes del 5 de septiembre.

Homeland Security Defends Immigration Raids, Arrests

February 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly Monday defended recent “targeted enforcement operations” by federal authorities in areas including Los Angeles that triggered mass-deportation fears in some immigrant communities, saying the raids were aimed at criminals and people who violated immigration laws.

On Tuesday, however, a scheduled meeting between House Members and the leadership of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was abruptly cancelled, adding to concerns about ICE’s willingness to be transparent.

“Frankly, ICE’s failure to meet and provide us with important information regarding ICE’s recent wave of arrests raises serious questions about the transparency of the agency’s activities,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) said Tuesday.

The wave of arrests last week “created fear and panic in our communities,” she said, adding that ICE has a responsibility to answer House Members’ questions and to provide a “clear and full accounting” of their actions.

“Our constituents worry about what these arrests could mean for them, their families, and their friends,” Roybal-Allard said.

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-32), however, said Wednesday she has since spoken to a person “high up” in the agency who she did not name, and she is confident the agency had targeted some very bad criminals.

She said the agency assured her that all the actions were directed at individuals in their homes, and that the agency does not conduct raids at churches or other public locations.

According to immigration authorities, about 161 people were detained in the weeklong Southern California operation: 95 people were arrested in Los Angeles County; 35 in Orange County; 13 in San Bernardino County; seven in Riverside County; six in Ventura County and five in Santa Barbara County.

The city of Los Angeles saw the most arrests, with 37 (including nine in Van Nuys), followed by Santa Ana with 16 and Compton with six. The others were scattered around the Southland, with most cities seeing between one and four people arrested.

Similar operations were conducted across the country, with more than 680 people arrested, according to federal authorities.

News of the raids prompted an outcry from local immigrant-rights activists, with hundreds of people on Thursday taking their protest to the federal building in downtown L.A.

Activists suggested the raids are the result of President Trump’s pledge and executive action to crack down on illegal immigration and to deport people living in the United States without authorization.

In response, CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights created a toll-free hotline — (888) 624-4752 — for affected immigrants to call for assistance and obtain access to attorneys. The group also began offering hourly training sessions to inform illegal immigrants about their legal rights.

On Friday, after first denying the claims of immigrant-rights activists that as many as 100 people had been arrested, immigration authorities finally acknowledged the enforcement “surge,” but said they were “no different than the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis.” They said the raids had been in the planning for months and were in compliance with enforcement objectives set by the Obama Administration.

ICE officials insisted, however, “The rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible,” referring to reports circulating on social media.

“These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Individuals who falsely report such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support,” said ICE officials.

On Monday, Kelly also stressed that ICE conducts such operations “regularly and has for many years.”

“These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.”

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He said about 75 percent of the people arrested had been “convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.”

Kelly noted that Pres. Trump “has been clear in affirming the critical mission of DHS in protecting the nation and directed our department to focus on removing illegal aliens who have violated our immigration laws, with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety, have been charged with criminal offenses, have committed immigration violations or have been deported and re-entered our country illegally.”

ICE, acknowledged, however, that during some raids, officers “frequently encounter additional suspects who may be in the United States in violation of the federal immigration laws. Those persons will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and, when appropriate, arrested by ICE.”

The bulk of those arrested were from Mexico, while others hailed from countries including El Salvador, Guatemala, China, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Honduras, Belize, Philippines, Australia, Brazil, Israel and South Korea.

CHIRLA and others rebuffed ICE’s label of “criminal” applied to 150 out of the more than 160 undocumented immigrants detained.

“There is a deficit of trust of DHS officials who insisted for hours on hours that nothing out of the ordinary had taken place in Southern California during the past few days,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA last Friday. “ICE has not been forthright with the community, attorneys, and organizations about their actions … They have only offered half-truths thus far. Forgive us then, if we must take their word with a grain of salt.”

Some elected officials also criticized the immigration actions, and pledged to provide support to immigrants, and ensure they are aware of their rights.

“President Trump has already ignited widespread fear and confusion in our immigrant communities with his executive order and divisive campaign rhetoric,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “If the reports are accurate, these raids only add to the anxiety about what’s to come from this administration.”

Roybal-Allard said she was “outraged” at news of the recent raids and suggested that some people who were targeted had no violent or criminal history.

“It is essential that Members of Congress know the facts about these enforcement activities in order to properly inform our constituents, who deserve truth and transparency from ICE,” said Roybal-Allard, who also said she is “extremely disappointed and concerned that DHS canceled” Tuesday’s meeting with Members of Congress.

“I urge Acting Director Homan to meet with my colleagues and me immediately. This meeting will enable us to share our concerns and have our questions answered to better respond to our constituents.”


Article contains information from City News Service.


Roybal-Allard to Lead Dems on Powerful Homeland Security Subcommittee

March 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The House Democratic Caucus formally approved Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) selection as the Ranking Democrat on the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. She has been a member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee since its creation in 2003.

Roybal-Allard makes history as the first Latina to serve in the position.

“It is an honor to be selected by my colleagues to be the Ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee,” the Congresswoman said in a written statement.

She said her priority would be to ensure Homeland Security has the “resources it needs to protect our country, and that it does so in a way that reflects our American values.”


She gave special thanks to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and House Appropriations Committee Ranking Democrat Nita Lowey for their invaluable support.

“Members of Congress have no more sacred obligation than to protect the safety and welfare of the American people” and “Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard will lead Democrats’ efforts to ensure our federal agencies have the resources needed,” said Pelosi.

“Congress is strongest when it recognizes the full diversity of perspectives, experiences and backgrounds that is America,” said Pelosi, adding, “we are proud that this moment in history belongs to such an experienced and dedicated Member of the Democratic Caucus.

She said that as the original author of the DREAM Act, “Roybal-Allard has been a consistent champion for restoring compassion and accountability to our broken immigration system and for the security of the American people.”

Roybal-Allard pointed out that “The Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee has traditionally taken a fairly bipartisan approach, with Republicans and Democrats working towards the common goal of protecting our country.” She said she looks forward to working with Subcommittee Chairman John Carter and other members of the subcommittee on their important work.

Roybal-Allard said she will continue to work implement the President’s immigration actions.

Her priorities include: advocating for bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform; protecting our borders; holding Customs and Border Protection accountable for its use of force practices and its treatment of unaccompanied children and families; pushing Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide better data on how it is enforcing immigration laws; improving aviation security; expanding in-bound cargo scanning; strengthening our Coast Guard and our Secret Service; enhancing cybersecurity through increased collaboration with the private sector and investments in federal networks; and providing DHS grants to help our state and local public safety officials.

Protect America: Pass a Clean Homeland Security Budget Now

February 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

No matter what state we come from or which party we represent, every Member of Congress is entrusted with the sacred responsibility of keeping our nation safe. Unfortunately, on Friday, February 13, the House Republican Majority decided to leave Washington, D.C. for a week-long recess, even though there are only four more legislative days until the Department of Homeland Security shuts down.


If DHS funding is allowed to expire at the end of February, 85 percent of essential DHS personnel, such as our front-line federal agents and law enforcement officers, will be required to work but without pay. Is this fair – to expect these dedicated Americans to put their lives on the line without pay and the ability to provide for their families? I think not. And I believe the American people would agree that this is unfair.

Department of Homeland Security is currently trying to fulfill its mission under the uncertainty of a Continuing Resolution, which will expire on February 28. The Secretary of Homeland Security has warned that not having a 2015 appropriation threatens our national security. The lack of a full-year budget, he says, is delaying the issuing of preparedness and response grants to state and local governments. Without these grants, many of our first responders and other public safety personnel are at risk of not being fully prepared when responding to earthquakes, floods, fires, and even terrorist attacks.


Not having a full-year budget limits the Secretary’s efforts to make the department more effective in achieving its security missions, as well as his ability to aggressively implement his Southern Border and Approaches campaign. It also creates uncertainty about ICE’s ability to transfer unaccompanied children to the Department of Health and Human Services for humane treatment, and its capacity to detain and deport dangerous criminals. Moreover, operating under the lower allocations and uncertainty of a Continuing Resolution has the potential to delay and ultimately increase the cost of needed procurements, including the Coast Guard’s 8th National Security Cutter, the hiring of new Secret Service personnel, and the installation of badly needed security upgrades at the White House Complex to prevent fence-jumper intrusions.


While I do not question the commitment my Republican colleagues have to protecting our country, I do worry that some fail to fully appreciate the negative impact of inappropriately using the 2015 DHS Appropriations bill as leverage to reverse the President’s executive actions on immigration policy. If my Republican colleagues believe the President has overreached, the Constitution provides them a path of action through the authorizing committees rather than an appropriations bill.

On February 10th, I, with my colleague Congresswoman Nita Lowey, introduced H.R. 861. Our bill contains no poison pill riders or radical anti-immigrant language. It simply has the text of the bipartisan funding bill the House and Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittees negotiated last November, and funds the Department of Homeland Security through the end of Fiscal Year 2015. The bill is co-sponsored by all 188 voting House Democrats, and unlike the Republicans’ funding bill, it is capable of passing Congress and being signed by the President. All our bill needs is for Speaker Boehner to bring it to a vote in the House.


At a time when we are increasingly faced with the possibility of terrorist threats and natural disasters, I urge the Republican leadership to support H.R. 861, modeled after the clean, bipartisan, bicameral 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations bill negotiated in good faith last November. Protecting our national security should never be a partisan issue. It is time for Republicans and Democrats in Congress to come together to protect our country and keep the American people safe.


To do otherwise is a failure in our most basic responsibility as Members of Congress.


U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard is a Democrat representing California’s 40th Congressional District. She has been recommended to be Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

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