Photo: AP

On Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers began conducting raids of 77 businesses in the Bay Area and Sacramento region over the past week. The officers demanded that the businesses in question provide proof that their employees were legally permitted to work in the United States.

NBC reported on Thursday that Homeland Security began serving the 77 business owners with I-9 audits on Monday and continued to do so through Wednesday. The notices inform employers that their records will be inspected and that they will be required to present their company’s I-9s within three business days.

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The Chronicle reported that this series of raids is believed to be the largest instance of localized workplace sweeps since Trump took office.

ICE spokesperson James Schwab said that the operation was part of a strategy “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.”

Angelo Paparelli, a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney with the firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP told the Chronicle, “Serving 77 notices of inspection on different employers in the last three days within a single area of responsibility, in this case, San Francisco, appears unprecedented.”

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