Two years ago, a man walked up to a police officer and asked for help. He told the officer that he was not being paid for his work. Understandably, the officer started digging a little deeper and this is how a two-year investigation began into the operation of 14 different 7-Eleven stores. Although none of the stores that were investigated were in Lancaster County, it is not inconceivable that there aren’t similar situations here.
What police found was a widespread operation of immigrants without work authorizations running these various 7-Elevens. Their managers and the owners of the stores also reportedly stole the identities of American citizens and gave them to the immigrants in an effort to skirt the system. What was truly horrifying, however, was that the immigrants were working around 100 hours per week, but only making, at most, $500 a week.
This is certainly not the first time that federal officials found these kinds of working conditions and, unfortunately, it won’t likely be the last. The question that should be asked, however, is whether the immigrants are going to be the ones to pay for their employers’ wrongdoings. Will they be detained in federal prisons until the government chooses to deport them? Will they face criminal charges for crimes they likely did not know they were committing?
As of yet, it does not appear that the government is making a move to deport any of the workers, but things may change after their employers’ are brought to trial.
Source: The New York Times, “U.S. Seizes 14 7-Eleven Stores in Immigration Raids,” Mosi Secret and William K. Rashbaum, June 17, 2013