Now that officials are focusing on store workers, employers are also at risk of facing criminal charges and even fines.
"It's not going to be limited to large companies or any particular industry, big, medium or small,"Benner explained".
According to ICE, the investigation into the 7-Eleven stores is ongoing.
"7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws", the company said.
The raids involved close to 100 stores around the nation and ended with 21 arrests of workers suspected of being in the country illegally, though the action was largely aimed at management. Businesses often calculate administrative fines as another cost of doing business.
"Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet", Mr Homan said in a statement.
One employee was observed to be in handcuffs, an eyewitness said. "You're playing whack-a-mole". Federal agents were looking for workers that were hired illegally.
President Barack Obama's administration more than doubled employer audits to more than 3,100 a year in 2013, shunning Bush's flashier approach.
No arrests were made Wednesday at those locations, Yglesias said.
The audits arose from a 2013 investigation that resulted in charges against nine 7-Eleven franchisees and managers in NY and Virginia. Eight have pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in back wages.
There were 30 percent more immigration-related arrests in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to ICE's end-of-year report.
This time, and since the first days of the year, ICE has carried out aggressive raids through public establishments such as Motel 6 and Seven-Eleven. "The Mexican illegal immigration actually declined", Homan told the FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings with Maria".
"This whole week has put an emphasis on how the Trump administration wants to continue exercising their xenophobic views", says Maru Mora Villalpando, an organizer with Northwest Detention Center Resistance. In a statement, the company said it was not responsible for the hiring decisions of individual franchise owners.
One 7-Eleven employee who asked that his name not be used for fear of retaliation on the part of the government, called news of the operation, "crazy", and blamed President Trump's hardline immigration policies. A clerk told CBS13 agents had a very specific request. Trump has, in ICE's own words, allowed the agency to "take off its kid gloves" and hunt down undocumented people at an increased clip.