The 7-Eleven in Bay Ridge was not one of the 98 locations in 17 states raided yesterday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agents entered the 7-Elevens before dawn—including 16 stores in the New York City area, at least two of which were on Staten Island—demanding proof from owners as to the immigration statuses of their employees; twenty-one undocumented workers were arrested. The store in Bay Ridge, on 89th Street and Fourth Avenue, seems to have been spared. “I was here all day yesterday,” a clerk told us, “and no one came in.”
Tensions remain high throughout the city and across the country. Yesterday’s action is the latest in an escalation of enforcement efforts targeting undocumented immigrants. Today, Ravi Ragbir, Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition, was detained during his regularly scheduled ICE checkin at Foley Square, outraging activists and local lawmakers. His arrest followed the administration’s decision Monday to rescind Temporary Protective Status for more than 200,000 El Salvadorans and just weeks after a similar withdrawal of support for Haitian immigrants who came to the country after the devastating earthquake of 2010.
Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan released an ominous statement about the 7-Eleven raids. “Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.” Blurring the line between enforcing immigration policy and shaping economic policy, Homan added, “ICE will continue its efforts to protect jobs for American workers by eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that exploit illegal immigration.” Homan is an outspoken critic of sanctuary cities.
Wednesday’s raids were the largest against a single employer so far under Trump.
For information about what to do in the event of an ICE raid, click here.