As part of increased worksite enforcement and immigration reform, four 7-Eleven stores in metro Detroit were targeted today by federal immigration agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigating undocumented immigrant workers.
One 7-Eleven employee in metro Detroit was arrested for immigration violations.
Agents with ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) served notices of inspections (NOIs) to the 7-Eleven stores , part of 98 stores targeted nationally, said Khaalid Walls, spokesman for the Detroit office of ICE. The notices are also known as I-9 audit.
The federal agents interviewed store employees, managers at the 7-Eleven stores, said ICE in a statement provided by Walls. ICE did not disclose which 7-Eleven stores in metro Detroit were targeted.
The notice of inspections "are a tool used by ICE to ensure that businesses are operating with employees who have proper work authorization," ICE said.
"Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” said Thomas Homan, ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director. "Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet. ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration."
Additional 7-Eleven Stores Across The Country Facing ICE audits
In addition to Metro Detroit stores, ICE agents also went to 7-Eleven stores in Washington D.C., California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
In 2015 A company operating a New York-based 7-Eleven saw the fine levied against it for Form I-9 violations
The company, Holtsville 811 Inc. operates a Long Island 7-Eleven that, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, violated the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, according to an Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer settlement agreement. On June 12, 2014, ICE filed a complaint alleging that Holtsville failed to prepare or present Form I-9s for 27 individuals. Additionally, it claimed that the company did not properly complete the form for eight of those employees. Though the employer was found guilty of those violations, it was determined that the company had not purposefully broken the law.
Form I-9 Audits Expected To Ramp Up in 2018
President Donald Trump's administration has signaled that the number of Form I-9 employment eligibility verification audits will significantly escalate in 2018.
Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan announced in October 2017 that his agency plans to increase worksite investigations of employers by "four or five times" this year. Homan said that ICE intends to refocus on eliminating the "magnet" of U.S. jobs, considered to be a driving factor in illegal immigration.
Why Every Employer Should Be Prepared For An I-9 Audit
I-9 audits can come at random, regardless of business size, region, or industry. They come in waves and there is no way to avoid them, only to be prepared as you will only have 3 days to turn over your Form I-9 documents after receiving a notice of inspection.
The fines and penalties incurred from a failed Form I-9 audit can be detrimental to any organization. Recently a Pennsylvania-based tree clearing company, Asplundh Tree Experts, Co., was fined $95 million in forfeitures and fines related to I-9 practices and employing unauthorized workers.
Organizations using a paper-based Form I-9 process, face the largest risk of fines and penalties associated with non-compliance. I-9 Advantage has found that an average over 68% of an organizations I-9 documents contain errors and mistakes, which can be detrimental.
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