7-ELEVEN STORES ARE AT THE HEART OF AMERICA AND THE CENTER OF MANY ETHNIC COMMUNITIES – So, Why Are The ICEMEN Targeting Them? — “It seems incredible to have to remind ourselves, at this point in the history of the Republic, that immigration and immigrants — with and without papers — are the backbone of the American economy.”

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-ulin-7-eleven-ice-raids-20180123-story.html

David L. Ulin writes in the LA Times:

“A few times a week, I visit the 7-Eleven in my midcity neighborhood to pick up a six-pack or a bag of snacks. What I see there looks to me like a pretty pure portrait of America. The place is open all hours and it serves all kinds: Parents buying after-school snacks for their children, laborers getting cold drinks on hot afternoons, neighbors stopping in for a few items before the evening meal. A family from India owns the franchise — mother, father, son and daughter, all of whom work long hours in the store.

On Jan. 10, U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agents descended on 98 7-Elevens in 17 states, including California. It was a show of force that must have played well with the president’s anti-immigrant base. Although my mid-city outpost wasn’t targeted, a store in Culver City and three in Koreatown were. ICE didn’t detain anyone in Los Angeles, but 21 workers suspected of being in the country illegally were arrested nationwide.

“Today’s actions,” declared acting ICE director Thomas D. Homan, “send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal work force: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”

Oh, come on. The raids were nothing but political theater, intended to terrify the most vulnerable.

I’ll keep supporting my local 7-Eleven, and any other franchise that gets raided.


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According to news reports, 7-Eleven owners will be “audited” for immigration offenses, but such audits don’t require dramatic predawn raids and rarely result in successful prosecution anyway. Business owners have access to lawyers, and it’s hard to prove they knowingly hired undocumented workers. Workers, on the other hand, can be deported with little or no due process.

It’s not that 7-Eleven owners and the company’s corporate leadership are without their issues. During the Obama administration, several franchisees in New York and Virginia were indicted for running a scheme in which, according to then-Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch, “immigrant workers were routinely forced, upon threat of job loss or deportation, to work upwards of 100 hours a week.”

Closer to home, a group of Southern California franchise owners sued 7-Eleven in 2014 for “aggressive and discriminatory” practices, which included taking away stores for minor violations and turning them over to new owners for higher fees. Late last year, the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees filed another suit in California alleging additional coercive attempts at corporate control.

Still, 7-Eleven stores have long offered a positive vehicle for immigrants — especially South Asians — to ascend into the middle class. Franchise costs are relatively affordable, and in 2013, the National Minority Franchising Initiative reported that 57% of the chain’s stores were minority-run. The result — as my neighborhood store illustrates — can be a vivid demonstration of the American dream.

It seems incredible to have to remind ourselves, at this point in the history of the Republic, that immigration and immigrants — with and without papers — are the backbone of the American economy. Again and again, research shows immigration’s net positive economic effect. “Immigrants, we get the job done,” Lin-Manuel-Miranda exults in the musical “Hamilton,” whose hero emigrated from the Caribbean island of Nevis on his way to helping found the United States.

Just two days before the 7-Eleven raids, the Trump administration announced it would do away with Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. — “part of what appears an effort …,” argued a Baltimore Sun editorial, “to go nationality-by-nationality to show the door to Latino and Latina immigrants, legal or illegal.”

The day after the raids, the president made his blatantly racist comments denigrating Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa while torpedoing a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

That none of this is particularly surprising — the president, remember, kicked off his campaign by calling Mexicans criminals and rapists, then began his presidency with the Muslim “travel ban” — makes it no less troubling, especially in California, which is, as of Jan. 1, a sanctuary state. The California Values Act prevents police from asking about immigration status or cooperating with federal immigration authorities, with some exceptions. A related law allows employers to be prosecuted if, in state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra’s words, they “voluntarily start giving up information about … or access to their employees” without a warrant.

When Gov. Jerry Brown signed the laws, Homan responded that “ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests.”

We have every reason, then, to see the recent raids as a signal of what’s to come — ICE agents swooping down on restaurants, car washes, convenience stores and construction sites.

Indeed, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that “U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state.”

Theater again, although not for those who are arrested. For them, this is all too real.

I never thought going to a convenience store would become a political act, but here we are. I’ll keep supporting my local 7-Eleven, and any other franchise that gets raided. It would be un-American — or un-Californian — to do otherwise.

David L. Ulin is a contributing writer to Opinion.”

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When your policies are based on latent racism and White Nationalism, common sense, economic reality, and human decency cease to matter. That’s why ICE is well on its way to becoming America’s most hated and least trusted police force. That’s going to be a problem for the ICEMEN long after Trump, Gonzo, and the White Nationalist Gang have been removed from power.

PWS

01-27-18

DHS ENFORCEMENT HITS 7-ELEVEN STORES NATIONWIDE!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/immigration-agents-target-7-eleven-stores-in-nationwide-sweep/2018/01/10/315dae76-f62b-11e7-b34a-b85626af34ef_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_icecrackdown-128pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.ae6d34fab70c

Nick Miroff reports for the Washington Post:

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents blitzed dozens of 7-Eleven stores before dawn Wednesday to interview employees and deliver audit notifications, carrying out what the agency said was the largest operation targeting an employer since President Trump took office.

ICE said its agents showed up at 98 stores and made 21 arrests, describing the operation as a warning to other companies who may have unauthorized workers on their payroll.

“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 D. Homan, the agency’s top official, in a statement.

Homan characterized the operation as a new front in the Trump administration’s broader immigration crackdown and its effort to increase deportations. ICE agents have made 40 percent more arrests in the past year.

“Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet,” Homan’s statement said. “ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration.”

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Read Nick’s complete article at the link.

It’s not clear whether the 21 folks arrested were undocumented workers, store managers, or both. This does indicate an interesting new initiative by the Trump Administration to enforce employer sanctions against major U.S. chains like 7-Eleven. We’ll see how it “plays,” however, if and when some fat-cat GOP execs/donors get caught up in the enforcement net.

PWS

01-10-18

 

THE HILL: N. RAPPAPORT ASKS A GREAT QUESTION: “WHY NOT GO AFTER EMPLOYERS?”

http://thehill.com/opinion/immigration/358892-to-tackle-illegal-immigration-go-after-the-employers

Nolan writes:

“The job magnet is making it impossible to secure the Southwest border. The availability of jobs in the United States attracts immigrants who need work and are willing to do whatever they have to do to cross the border.

Congress tried to eliminate the job magnet by establishing employer sanctions with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). The theory was that if employers were sanctioned for hiring aliens who do not have work authorization, they would stop hiring them.

This was expected to prevent a new group of undocumented aliens from taking the place of the ones IRCA was going to legalize.

It didn’t work. Approximately 2.7 million undocumented aliens were legalized, but by the beginning of 1997, they had been replaced entirely by a new group of undocumented aliens.

It failed because the sanctions were not applied on a large-scale, nationwide basis. This is necessary to make employers throughout the United States afraid that they will be sanctioned if they hire undocumented workers. And it has continued to fail for the same reason. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 8 million unauthorized immigrants working or looking for work in the United States in FY2014.

The government has had more than 30 years to make the sanctions work, and it hasn’t happened. It is unrealistic at this point to expect it ever to happen. A new approach should be considered. But first, let’s look at what employer sanctions do.

. . . .

Shift attention to “the other magnet.”

Unscrupulous employers are drawn to undocumented immigrant workers because they can be exploited easily and are not in a position to complain about the way they are treated. I call this “the exploitation magnet.”

The Department of Labor (DOL) sanctions employers for exploiting employees without regard to their immigration status. Consequently, DOL enforcement officers do not have to determine whether an exploited employee is an alien, and if so, whether he has work authorization. For instance, DOL enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires a minimum wage and overtime pay.

Low wage industries tend to employ substantial numbers of undocumented immigrants.

DOL prosecutes employers for violating labor laws much more aggressively than DHS prosecutes employers for hiring unauthorized immigrants.

In FY2014, for instance, DHS issued only 643 final fine orders, imposing fines totaling $16.28 million, and DOL collected $79.1 million in back wages for overtime and minimum wage violations involving 109,261 employees.

With additional funding, DOL could mount a large-scale, nationwide campaign to stop the exploitation of employees in industries known to hire large numbers of undocumented immigrants, which would go a long way towards eliminating the job magnet.”

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Go on over to The Hill at the link to read Nolan’s complete article. I highly recommend his succinct summary of the current employer sanctions program and “E-Verify.”

I think Nolan is “right on” in his recommendation for more aggressive enforcement of wage and hour laws. No matter where you stand on the overall immigration policy issue, I think that we can all agree that U.S. employers should not be gaining a competitive advantage by exploiting migrant labor, whether documented or undocumented.

PWS

11-06-17

NEW POLL: Majority Of Americans Want DACA, Don’t Like Trump’s “Gonzo” Enforcement, DON’T Believe That Legal Immigration Should Be Drastically Cut, Reject Wall! — Want Border Security & Enforcement Of Employer Sanctions!

http://www.langerresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/1191a4DACAandImmigration.pdf

“Americans Back DACA by a Huge Margin. A vast 86 percent of Americans support a right to residency for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, with support crossing the political spectrum. Two-thirds back a deal to enact such legislation in tandem with higher funding for border control. Possibly in light of Donald Trump’s decision to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, disapproval of his handling of immigration overall reaches 62 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll. Just 35 percent approve. Additional hurdles for Trump are his demand for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico – again 62 percent oppose it – and substantial concerns about his immigration enforcement policies. Americans were asked whether they support “a program that allows undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States if they arrived here as a child, completed high school or military service and have not been convicted of a serious crime,” all elements of DACA, established by Barack Obama by executive order in 2012. Support spans demographic groups, including three-quarters of Republicans and conservatives, 86 and 87 percent of independents and moderates and 97 and 96 percent of Democrats and liberals.”

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Read the complete summary of the ABC News/Washington Post Poll at the link.

While all polls, particularly those on immigration, must be looked at with some circumspection, these are great numbers to keep in mind when faced with the constant bogus claims from Trump Administration and GOP Congressional restrictionists that they are somehow representing the “national will” or “the people’s voice” with their out of touch policies and proposals.

Interestingly, one enforcement initiative that got widespread support was enforcing existing employer sanctions laws, something that neither GOP nor Democratic Administrations has been willing to do over the past three decades since they were in acted in 1986.

Nor does their Trump Administration appear to be putting any emphasis on this program. And, it’s easy to see why. Employer sanctions would involve going after U.S. businesses, some of the same folks who helped put Trump and the GOP in power. Some of them like the current system, which keeps many needed workers marginalized and dependent, so they can be exploited.

Perhaps more important, going after U.S.employers doesn’t do anything for the Trump/GOP racist base. Much better to sack up some decent productive Hispanic workers and count it as “law enforcement.” That’s what the racist xenophobes like to see.

PWS

09-28-17

NYT EDITORIAL: Like Preceding Administrations, Trump Happy To Punish Workers, But Not So Much Employers Who Violate The Laws — Why We Need Sensible Immigration Reform Including Legalization Now!

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/opinion/no-crackdown-on-illegal-employers.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170320&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=0&nlid=79213886&ref=headline&te=1&_r=0&referer=

“President Trump began his campaign assailing immigrants as ruthless lawbreakers who steal American jobs with impunity. To halt them, he has vowed to build a wall along the border with Mexico, hire thousands of new immigration agents, ramp up immigrant detention and subject visa applicants to even more rigorous vetting. His administration has been largely silent, however, about the strongest magnet that has drawn millions of immigrants, legal and not, to the United States for generations: jobs.

American employers continue to assume relatively little risk by hiring undocumented immigrants to perform menial, backbreaking work, often for little pay. Meanwhile, as Mr. Trump’s deportation crackdown accelerates, families are being ripped apart, and communities of hard-working immigrants with deep roots in this country are gripped by fear and uncertainty. As long as employers remain off the hook, a border wall and an expanded dragnet can only make temporary dents in the flows of undocumented immigrants.”

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The truth is pretty obvious. Employers and businesspersons vote and contribute to both parties. And, as we know, “money talks.” It’s also very clear that these workers are fulfilling a continuing need in our economy. So, why not get everyone “on the books,” have taxes withheld, and document them?

While I don’t  believe the Administration’s hype about undocumented migrants threatening our national security, I do think that it is a good idea to find our exactly who we have here, get them their own working Social Security numbers, withhold Federal and State taxes, Social Security, and Medicare as appropriate, and run fingerprint and background screening to weed out any serious criminals or genuine security risks.

It’s long past time to ditch the xenophobia campaign and have the parties work together for meaningful immigration reform, including some type of legalization, reasonable and effective enforcement, and an independent U.S. Immigration Court.

PWS

03/20/17