U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents targeted 98 7-Eleven stores and arrested 21 undocumented workers in raids last week. In a public statement, Thomas D. Horman, ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director, stated that the 7-Eleven raids on January 10 were meant to "send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law ... [and] you will be held accountable." In fact, since President Trump entered office last year, ICE agents have made 40 percent more arrests.

Raids will continue. ICE Chief of Investigations Derek Benner stated there will be more audits, more investigations, and possibly more criminal investigations. There is no numerical goal, Mr. Benner stated, and he did not identify any particular targets. Echoing Mr. Benner, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Fox News Sunday that more raids are coming. The raids seem to be focused on companies that "have continually and systematically tried to get around the system" or that have "willfully" ignored the law, according to Fox. If a company is subject to an ICE audit, it only has three days to provide documentation on the immigration status of its employees, and may face criminal investigation.

Ballard Spahr's White Collar Defense/Internal Investigations and Labor and Employment Groups regularly handle immigration matters intersecting with government investigations and enforcement actions. Dennis K. Burke, who joined Ballard Spahr in 2017, is a former Senior Adviser to the Secretary of Homeland Security, helping to oversee ICE operations. As former U.S. Attorney in Arizona, he worked extensively with ICE and has a deep understanding of the agency's methods and procedures for worksite enforcement compliance.


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