Federal immigration agents raided 77 businesses in Northern California this week, demanding proof that their employees are legally allowed to work in the U.S., the San Francisco Chronicle reports. It was believed to be the largest such localized sweep of workplaces by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency since President Trump took office. Previously, ICE agents swept into nearly 100 7-Eleven stores nationwide and arrested 21 suspected undocumented immigrants.
Thomas Homan, the agency’s acting director, has called for a “400 percent increase” in such workplace operations. ICE did not identify the businesses its agents visited in the Bay Area and the Sacramento region Monday through Wednesday.
The businesses were served notices of inspection and given three working days to comply, and no immediate arrests were made. Experts were struck by the scale of the operation. “Serving 77 notices of inspection on different employers in the last three days within a single area of responsibility, in this case, San Francisco, appears unprecedented,” said Angelo Paparelli, an immigration attorney with the firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP.
James Schwab, a spokesman for ICE, said the operation is part of a strategy “focused on protecting jobs for U.S. citizens and others who are lawfully employed, eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce, and strengthening public safety and national security.”