This past Wednesday, January 10th, immigrations customs officials served audit notices at nearly 100 7-Eleven stores nationwide, the second time in five years, which included stores in California, Oregon and Washington. In its entirety, 98 stores in 17 states and from coast to coast were targeted.
The premise behind these raids surrounds the hiring practices of its managers and whether or not they knowingly employed undocumented immigrants. Derek Brenner, the acting director of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, made the following statement to the Associated Press: “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,” he said. “It’s going to be inclusive of everything that we see out there.”
Stay vigilante in your hiring practices:
Make sure your I-9 compliance programs are solidified, up to date and stringently followed.
Execute a full I-9 audit if you haven’t recently. Any I-9s lost or missing information, complete as soon as possible. All current employees hired after November 6, 1986 must have an I-9 form completed and on file.
Train train train! Anyone involved in the I-9 completion process, ensure they are up to speed and comfortable handling any event where an employee may not be authorized to work in the U.S.
Conduct regular internal audits to set you up for success in the event of an ICE raid or USCIS audit, and as always, consult your legal counsel if you have any questions or concerns.