New concern after ICE agents hit 77 NorCal businesses

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- Homeland Security special agents have conducted another employer audit operation in the Bay Area.

Between January 29th and 31st, agents served notices at 77 businesses in San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose -- alerting owners that the federal government would be auditing their employment records to make sure they're in compliance with legal hiring practices.

RELATED: South Bay supervisor calls ICE raids at 7-Eleven stores 'tragic'

That includes not employing undocumented immigrants.

The businesses have three business days to produce their records.

RELATED: Report: ICE to start tracking license plates across US

The notices alerted business owners that agents would be auditing their hiring records to make sure they are complying with the law.

A statement from an ICE spokesperson reads in part:

"The actions taken this week reflect Homeland Security Investigation's stepped-up efforts to enforce the laws that prohibit businesses from hiring illegal workers. HSI's worksite enforcement strategy is focused on protecting jobs for U.S. citizens and others who are lawfully employed, eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce, and strengthening public safety and national security."

RELATED: UC Berkeley student back in Bay Area after ICE release

In response to the prospect of ICE raids, religious leaders gathered at the Congregational Church of San Mateo Thursday to show solidarity with the immigrant community.

"If you need a place, our houses of faith are open to you," said Rev. Penny Nixon.

Three weeks ago, ICE agents conducted similar audits at 7-Eleven stores across the country, including six stores in the Bay Area. Twenty-one people were arrested during that action.

RELATED: Customs and Border Patrol vehicle parked on Cal campus sparks fear of raid

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