The 7-Eleven corporation has the most convenience stores in the United States. Last week, state and federal agents seized 14 of the stores on Long Island and in Virginia. The stores are franchises licensed by 7-Eleven.
They found dozens of undocumented migrant employees with false social security numbers. Many of the numbers came from dead people.
The owners of the 7-Eleven stores would enter false information into the computer. The 7-Eleven parent company sent the workers’ wages to the employers. But the employers gave the workers less than they were entitled to. These practices went on for more than ten years.
The undocumented workers were living in overcrowded, below standard conditions. They were working up to 100 hours a week. Their wages ranged from $300 to $500 a week.
It is easy to take advantage of undocumented workers. Some say the workers know what they are getting into and even bring other workers to the job.
A federal official said the defendants in this case “ruthlessly exploited their immigrant employees creating a modern-day plantation system.”
The federal government said it is better to audit company information to find problems than raid workplaces. 7-Eleven Inc. said was cooperating with federal authorities.
Pakistanis who became American citizens own twelve stores in New York and Virginia. A person with Pakistani and American citizenship and another person who is an undocumented migrant own two stores.
What happens to the workers in cases like this? The federal government said it would not deport these workers, at least at this time. Immigration reform might make it easier for exploited workers to complain about their conditions.
The government said it is looking into 40 more 7-Eleven stores.