Recently, the Trump administration authorized federal agents to raid a number of 7-Eleven convenience stores to check for undocumented workers. These federal raids are often accompanied by demands to see employee’s immigration papers. Undocumented workers are arrested if they do not have legal paperwork. These individuals suffer serious consequences, but the businesses themselves are rarely significantly or effectively penalized.
According to the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the new administration takes work-site enforcement seriously, in hopes to change undocumented worker’s perceptions. The director of ICE has made clear that not only would the government detain and remove the individual workers, but also penalize the employers who knowingly hire undocumented employees. The goal of these raids is to instill fear into prospective undocumented employees, to deter them from showing up to work. The choice of raids on 7-Eleven stores was significant, as these are common and popular establishments in working class blue-collar communities.
The previous administration under President Obama took a different approach, ensuring that employers were compliant in documenting their employees’ status. On-site investigations were not conducted. Although some employers were made examples of through highly publicized federal litigation, these cases are difficult for the government to prevail in because of the challenge in proving that a person knew that they received fake documents.
After an investigation and formal charges, employers often settle cases for reduced administrative fines. Many employers exert political pressure to ensure that they are not significantly penalized for hiring undocumented workers. Many companies view these fines as a part of the cost of doing business. Nearly half of all agricultural workers are undocumented in the State of California, where much of the nation gets its produce.
The more lasting effect of raids is to spread fear among undocumented workers, who often end up bearing the brunt of enforcement action at the workplace. According to ICE there was a “complacency” among undocumented workers under the last administration that they are trying to eradicate.
Prior administrations, such as that under George W. Bush, sent ICE agents to meatpacking plants and a few other industry sites to arrest workers. This resulted in many employees terminating their employment out of fear. Business owners also complained about the raids. The administration hopes that this new tactic will goad undocumented workers into “self deporting.”
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Fight for Immigrant Rights
The dedicated and compassionate Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. represent clients with all types of immigration statuses, and understand the difficulties our clients face. To learn more about how we can help, call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Our lawyers are multilingual and have successfully resolved all types of immigration law issues.
With offices located in Center City Philadelphia, we serve clients in and around Philadelphia, Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, Prospect Park, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County.