Federal immigration authorities said that while the 7-Eleven raids were focused on the owners and managers of the raided stores — including the franchises in Greenport and Cutchogue — 20 workers were taken into custody for questioning on their immigration status.
Of those workers, 18 were from the New York area, while the remaining two are from Virginia, said U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement public affairs officer Khaalid Walls.
Authorities are still evaluating the workers’ cases and have not reached any conclusions in their cases, Mr. Walls said, adding that the government is focused on effective immigration enforcement that “prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators.”
“ICE is evaluating each case to determine eligibility for prosecutorial discretion as appropriate to focus resources on the agency’s stated priorities,” Mr. Walls said. “Such decisions are based on the merits of each case, the factual information provided to the agency and the totality of individuals’ circumstances.”
The Cutchogue and Greenport 7-Elevens are currently in the process of hiring new staffers. “Now hiring” fliers and employment applications have been on display in the stores since last week’s raids.
The eight people arrested for their role in the illegal 7-Eleven operations all pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail, a U.S. Attorney spokesman said. Azhar Zia, the final defendant indicted for his role in the scheme, remains at large, officials said.