SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Immigration agents conducted so-called employer audits at 100 7-Elevens in 17 states Wednesday morning. They were checking to see if employees were legally eligible to work in the United States.
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In the Bay Area, agents inspected stores in Napa, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Petaluma, Suisun City and Santa Clara.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese called it "tragic."
"As transparent as Homeland Security would like us to be about who's in our jails, who are living in our community -- they're absolutely non-transparent when it comes to issues like this," said Supervisor Cortese.
He said he would support legitimate employer audits but he does not believe that's what this was.
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"I think they're doing audits on 7-Eleven stores so they can find out who else they can go after in terms of immigrants in this country. They're going after the little guy," said Cortese.
San Jose immigration attorney Merle Khan said she's not surprised by the audits.
Khan advises employers to keep their paperwork in order.
"For employees, if you are not authorized to work do not falsely fill out a form I9 as it can preclude you from ever immigrating to the United States and it can preclude you from ever being able to naturalize," said Khan.
Nationwide, at least 21 people were arrested Wednesday and ordered to appear in immigration court.
ICE released a statement that reads, "ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable."
7-Eleven said franchisees are responsible for verifying their employees' work eligibility.
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