Update, January 11, 2018: NBC News reports immigration agents arrested 21 people following the 7-Eleven investigation, and that the total number of stores agents searched was 98.
Original story, January 10, 2018: The Associated Press reports that agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrived at about 100 7-Elevens nationwide this morning as part of unannounced investigations into the stores’ hiring practices. Officials call it the largest operation against an employer since President Trump has taken office.
In what was no doubt a pretty terrifying experience for store workers, The AP reports that agents arrived before dawn to initiate audits and interview employees. It’s part of a broadening immigration investigation that began with a single 7-Eleven store in Long Island, New York.
And we can expect more.
An official at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told The Associated Press that Wednesday’s operation was “the first of many” and “a harbinger of what’s to come.”
Investigations like this—and a previous raid that detained 800 workers at a bakery supplying McDonald’s buns—are symptomatic of the Trump administration’s harder stance against illegal (and legal) immigration.
Immigration is an especially crucial issue in the food and restaurant industry. A Pew Research Center study found that unauthorized immigrants made up 5 percent of the nation’s civilian workforce in 2014, but made up 26 percent of farm workers. Likewise, undocumented immigrants hold a disproportionate 9 percent of service jobs.