In mid-January federal agents raided 100 7-Eleven stores across the country. The reason for the raids was twofold: to deliver a forceful message that Trump is rounding up undocumented workers and to convey to business owners the consequences of hiring them.
7-Eleven franchises, as we know them, are often immigrant-owned, and purchasing a franchise is a viable way for people to become entrepreneurs in our country. The Trump administration’s pursuit of this particular convenience chain appears as another attempt to condemn the immigrant population — both the legal store owners and the undocumented workers.
A change from the recent past, the fear of deportation is no longer limited to those with an arrest record or a criminal background. This has created great anxiety for those immigrants that are undocumented. On any given morning, someone might leave their spouse and children, head off to work, and not return home, because they have been “rounded-up.” For over 17 years no new immigration laws have been enacted to help people working and raising families without permission.
By example, recently one of my clients desired to travel outside the U.S. I advised her since she overstayed on a previous visa, she would face a three/ten-year bar, which, draconian when instituted in 1996-1997, remains so today. If one overstays a visa by 6 months they will be barred from reentry for 3 years. If one overstays by 1 year, they will be barred for 10 years from reentry. Ostensibly, people are unable to leave the country because if they do, they will not be allowed back for ten years. And they are unable to stay because they will be working without permission. A catch-22.
21 people were arrested in the recent raids — 21 lives forever changed. Write your congressional representatives and Senators, speak up and stand for changing a system that no longer works to help hard-working people maintain their livelihood and dignity.