Big Gulps, Candy Bars, and Unauthorized Workers: 7-Eleven's Non-Compliance with Immigration Law
Department of Homeland Security continues to investigate and prosecute employers in the retail and fast food industries for alleged immigration violations. In September 2014, five owners of 7-Eleven stores in Long Island and Virginia plead guilty to "concealing and harboring illegal aliens" employed at their stores. The plea arose from an extensive ICE investigation and it turned out to be the largest worksite enforcement forfeiture in United States history.
The government alleged that stolen identities were used for employing unauthorized workers. The 7-Eleven owners allegedly hired dozens of employees without work authorization and assisted them in obtaining housing. The government alleged that the owners generated over $182 million in proceeds from the 7-Eleven stores as a result of the violations. Two of the owners, both of New York, face up to 20 years imprisonment, and three other owners, of New York and Virginia, face up to 10 years imprisonment.
The owners have agreed to forfeit the franchise rights to ten 7-Eleven stores in New York and four 7-Eleven stores in Virginia, as well as their houses located in New York worth over $1.3 million. Also, the defendants have agreed to pay over $2.5 million in restitution for the back wages to the workers.
The 7-Eleven owners are paying the high cost of non-compliance with immigration laws. While this is an egregious case, it serves as a good reminder that employers need to make sure they are following ICE Best Practices and address any potential weaknesses in their immigration worksite compliance. One of the most proactive things an employer can do is to obtain training to understand what immigration laws apply and make sure they have policies and procedures in place.
Here is a helpful link to upcoming immigration training.
Corporate Immigration Attorney
MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM
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