“This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters.”

Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE) agents on Wednesday targeted dozens of 7-11 stores early on Wednesday morning in what has been described as the largest operation against an employer under Donald Trump’s presidency.

Agents targeted 100 stores across the country, opening employment audits and interviewing workers to continue an investigation that began with a four-year old case against a franchisee in New York’s Long Island.

“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.

Wednesday’s raid has been described as a follow-up effort to make sure that the company is complying with hiring laws.

ICE has said that store owners have three days to provide the agency with employee’s immigration status.

The action strengthens Trump’s expansion of immigration enforcement which has brought a 40% increase in deportation arrests and plans to spend billions of dollars on a border wall with Mexico.

Derek Benner who is a top official at US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that Wednesday’s operation was “the first of many”. He said that there would be more employment audits and investigations.

Benner said: “This is what we’re gearing up for this year and what you’re going to see more and more of is these large-scale compliance inspections, just for starters.

“It’s not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big medium and small,” he said. “It’s going to be inclusive of everything that we see out there.”

Illegal hiring is very rarely prosecuted, as investigations are time-consuming and convictions are difficult to make as employers can claim that they were duped by fraudulent documents or intermediaries.

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