Hackers Fought ISIS With Porn
Should Jeffrey Tambor Have Quit ‘Transparent’?
‘Runaways’ May Be Marvel’s Greatest TV Series Yet
‘Game of Thrones’ Hacker Demanded Bitcoin Ransom From HBO
The Young American Woman Trapped by Mugabe Even as He Falls
Non-Partisan, but Not Neutral
Did Tony Perkins Brush Sexual Assault Under the Rug?
Elizabeth Warren: ‘Enormously Disappointed’ in Al Franken
Steve Bannon Privately Urged Trump to Lay Off Roy Moore
Thanksgiving in Wildfire Country
The Secret to the Perfect Pecan Pie is Bourbon
My Love-Hate Relationship With Turkey
Herpes Researcher Experimented on Patients at Holiday Inn
Style, Sex, Media, and The Stage
Inside ‘The Wolves,’ a Soccer Team Full of Secrets
How Liberal Media Turned on Al Franken
‘Mean Girls’ Gets a Refreshing African Makeover
Oliver Stone Accused of Sexual Harassment: ‘I Left Crying’
Report: Ryan Seacrest Accuser Wanted $15m for Her Silence
Feds Plan Nationwide Operation Targeting Food Service Chain Over Undocumented Workers
11.21.17 11:40 AM ET
Federal agents are planning to conduct a major worksite enforcement operation at a national food service chain in the coming weeks, according to an internal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) document reviewed by The Daily Beast.
The current plan is focused on employers who exploit undocumented workers by illegally paying them below the minimum wage. The operation will target locations around the country and will likely result in charges of “harboring illegal aliens,” according to an ICE official.
“These people are basically being used as slave labor,” said the official, who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously because he was not permitted to discuss impending operations on the record.
The plans detailed in the document are the strongest indication to date that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are increasing what’s called “worksite enforcement”—meaning, efforts to prosecute people who employ undocumented immigrants. As with all complex law enforcement operations, there’s a chance this one is altered or even scuttled. If it does go according to plan, however, it will be the first major worksite enforcement action of an administration that has promised to prioritize this core ICE mission.
The food service industry is a particularly ripe target, with The Migration Policy Institute estimating that about 9 percent of food service workers in the U.S. are undocumented.
According to the plans, the operation will focus on franchise owners who exploit undocumented workers. The agency has already done preliminary investigations and picked targets, the Daily Beast has learned.
ICE is divided into two components: Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), which arrests and detains undocumented immigrants, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which investigates crimes related to customs and migration. HSI agents handle a host of issues, including art forgery, child exploitation, and drug crop eradication. They will also be helming this coming operation.
The operation will build on previous work.
On April 27, 2015, Farrukh Baig—who owned and operated 14 7-Eleven stores—pleaded guilty to wire fraud and to “concealing and harboring illegal aliens,” according to the Justice Department. According to court documents, Baig and several co-conspirators hired more than 100 undocumented immigrants to work in his stores. He then used the stolen identities of Americans to conceal his workers’ identities. Because the workers were undocumented, Baig and his store managers stole much of their wages and then paid them in cash, below the minimum wage.
Baig and his managers housed the undocumented immigrants at homes near the 7-Eleven stores where they worked, and deducted rent from their paychecks. In all, their scheme lasted more than 13 years. Federal prosecutors said that over the course of two of those years, they stole more than $1.25 million from the undocumented immigrants working for them.
Undocumented workers are uniquely vulnerable to this kind of exploitation because many fear that talking to law enforcement will lead to their deportation.
The ICE official who spoke to The Daily Beast said undocumented workers who cooperate with the agency could potentially be eligible for U visas, which let victims of crimes who testify against their perpetrators stay in the United States temporarily.
Tom Homan, the acting director of ICE, said in a speech last month at the conservative Heritage Foundation that the agency would target more work sites in the coming months. He also said the agency would target undocumented workers as well as their employers.
“Not only are we going to prosecute the employers that hire illegal workers, we’re going to detain and remove the illegal alien workers,” he said.
“When we find you at a work site, we’re no longer going to turn our heads,” Homan said after the event, according to CNN. “We’ll go after the employer who knowingly hires an illegal alien ... but we’re always going to arrest a person who is here illegally. That is our job.”
The 10 Most Important Stories Right Now
1. HE’S OUT
CBS Fires Charlie Rose
After at least eight women accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
2. HE’S OUT
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Resigns
After parliament tried to impeach him.
3. IT WASN’T ME
Rep. Conyers Denies Sexual-Harassment Settlements
After BuzzFeed reported that his office paid a woman more than $27,000 as part of a confidentiality agreement.
4. HUSH MONEY?
Weinstein ‘Used Legal Agreements’ to Hide Allegations
He allegedly concealed the payouts by funneling the funds from his brother's account.
5. Special Offer
Here are the Sleek Sunglasses You Need to Have Now
Ad by Daily Beast Shop
6. OH OK
‘Saturday Night Live’ Women Defend Franken
“Not one of us ever experienced any inappropriate behavior.”
7. SCREAM TV
Mark Levin Gets a Weekly Fox News Show
The talk-radio star’s found a home at the right-wing cable network.
8. THE RECKONING
Norah O’Donnell on Charlie Rose: There Is No Excuse
‘CBS This Morning’ co-host spoke candidly about her colleague’s alleged sexual harassment.
9. UNDER FIRE
DOJ Investigating Harvard Over Affirmative-Action Policies
Ivy accused of failing to cooperate in conservative activist’s suit claiming it limits Asian-American admissions.
10. POINTING FINGERS
Officials Accuse Tillerson of Breaking Law on Child Soldiers
A confidential internal “dissent” memo claims he violated the Child Soldiers Prevention Act.