7eleven, your slurpees taste soo good, but are they filled with hate?
Nine 7eleven chain store owners and managers across Virginia and New York were arrested and charged Monday for making millions of dollars while exploiting undocumented immigrant workers. The perps were arrested as part of an Immigration and Customs agency raid across 14 franchise stores. Since then, ICE has investigated over 40 7eleven establishments for similar infractions.
Abuse against undocumented workers is not a new crime; immigrants are far more susceptible to exploitative policies than domestic workers. Past reports show migrant workers in the agriculture and manufacturing industries routinely face discrimination, wage discrimination and dangerous working conditions.
In this case, over 50 undocumented workers at 7eleven’s franchise stores worked long hours and saw much of their wages stolen by corrupt managers and owners. The workers were put on payroll under false or stolen social security numbers and had up to 75% of their pay confiscated when payrolls came due.
The federal government has since removed the franchise rights from 10 NY stores and 4 Virginia stores involved in this exploitation. 7eleven has issued a public statement to take “aggressive actions” to aid the government in its investigation and assume corporate control over the stores involved.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy in this story is the government has detained 18 undocumented workers as a result of this investigation, including some of the initial whistleblowers. U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch has stated they will be allowed to stay in the country while the case is prosecuted, and then will be “processed through the system.”
What type of message are we sending to the immigrant community when we seek to detain and deport the people who come forward and admit they’ve been abused? Not one of sympathy, and certainly not one of justice.