Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents targeted dozens of 7-Eleven stores early Wednesday morning, arresting 21 people in a nationwide immigration sweep, the agency said in a statement.
ICE agents targeted 98 stores in Washington, D.C., Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, California, Florida, Missouri and several other states to interview employees and deliver audits.
“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,” ICE head Thomas Homan said in a statement.
Nine 7-Eleven franchise owners and managers were arrested in 2013 for harboring illegal aliens employed at their stores, among other charges.
Wednesday’s raid, which was first reported by The Washington Post, was described as a follow-up effort to make sure the company is staying in compliance with hiring laws.
ICE said store owners now have three days to provide the agency with employees’ immigration status.
The raids come one day after a bipartisan meeting on immigration at the White House, where lawmakers discussed border security and a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The Obama-era measure allows certain immigrations who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to live and work here without fear of deportation.
A federal judge ruled late Tuesday to block the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA.
ICE arrests have increased under Trump, who campaigned on promises to crack down on illegal immigration.