(WJBK) - Dozens of 7 Eleven stores across the country were the target of immigration agents Wednesday. A few stores in Michigan were included in the early-morning raids.
Ninety-eight stores were raided, with four of those stores being in Michigan. Federal agents were looking for workers that were hired illegally.
In all, 21 workers across the country were arrested on suspicion of being in the country illegally. We're told one of those arrests was local.
Authorities have not yet said who they have arrested, nor which stores they audited. It's not known which Michigan stores were included.
Other states with 7-Eleven stores targeted Wednesday were California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington.
These audits appear to open a new front in Trump's expansion of immigration enforcement, which has already brought a 40 percent increase in deportation arrests and pledges to spend billions of dollars on a border wall with Mexico.
Unlike other enforcement efforts that have marked Trump's first year in office, Wednesday's actions were aimed squarely at store owners and managers.
7-Eleven Stores Inc., based in Irving, Texas, said in a statement that the owners of its franchises are responsible for hiring and verifying work eligibility. The chain with more than 8,600 convenience stores in the U.S. said it has previously ended franchise agreements for owners convicted of breaking employment laws.
The audits arose from a 2013 investigation that resulted in charges against nine 7-Eleven franchisees and managers in New York and Virginia. Eight have pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in back wages, and the ninth was arrested in November.
The Associated Press contributed to this report