SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Twenty-one businesses representing the automotive, marketing, healthcare, restaurant, security, agriculture, food and telecommunications industries became the latest employers to partner with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to strengthen their hiring practices, reduce fraud and ensure they employ a legal workforce.
The 21 companies officially became members of ICE's Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) Thursday during the largest IMAGE signing ceremony since inception of the program. IMAGE is a voluntary program that allows private sector businesses to partner with ICE to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. As a result, a participating employer is able to maintain a more secure, stable workforce.
"I am pleased to welcome these companies as IMAGE partners," said Deputy Assistant Director of the HSI Transnational Crime and Public Safety Division Waldemar Rodriguez, who has been working closely with company officials in the IMAGE participation process. "This action sends a strong message to the thousands of Puerto Ricans who do business with these companies that the company places a priority on hiring and employing a legal workforce."
"Our IMAGE partnerships enable us to recognize the highest level of employment integrity and foster best hiring practices," said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. "When employers make a commitment to hire and maintain a lawful workforce, it's good for their business and it's good for the community. In tough economic times, companies like these, who join IMAGE, have made a commitment to protecting our nation's lawful workforce."
Artic-kar Inc. is an auto processing company in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean with more than 500,000 vehicles processed to date. With more than 30 years in the automotive industry, Artic-Kar provides its business partners with inspection, logistics, transportation and installation services. The company has its headquarters in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, with operations in Cataño and Toa Baja, Puerto Rico.
BBDO Puerto Rico Inc. is a marketing and publicity company with 15,000 employees in 289 offices across 81 countries. Their core competencies include advertising, branding, email marketing, mobile and social media, strategy and planning, interactive marketing, direct marketing and design.
Ciracet Corp. is dedicated to the management of healthcare technology and consulting. Comprised of engineers and healthcare professionals, their combined experience allows them to engineer new tools in the medical profession. With more than 60 years of combined experience, Ciracet Corp. provides healthcare in general with engineering tools that can be used during the entire life cycle of medical technology to enhance patient care services, improve healthcare facilities operations and maximize the cost effectiveness of those services.
El Meson Sandwiches Inc. and QSR Champs Inc. are two Puerto Rican franchise businesses with 36 establishments throughout the island with a current workforce of approximately 1,500 employees. QSR Champs Inc. provides administrative support to Meso Express Inc., El Meson Sandwiches Inc., and Western Meat Processors Inc.
Garaje Isla Verde, LLC is the exclusive dealer of Mercedes Benz vehicles in Puerto Rico. The company is currently one of the most recognized companies on the island for their product and service.
G4S Secure Solutions Puerto Rico Inc. is a United Kingdom subsidiary that provides full service security services, including monitoring station, field supervision, risk assessment, contract risk management, mobile patrol, executive protection, security cameras, signal monitored burglary and fire alarms, vehicular tracking and access control systems among other services.
Hacienda Santa Elena Inc., RF (MT Llanos) Inc., and Ganaderias del Sur, S.E. are a cattle breeding, calf raising, hay and silage farms and affiliates of Empresas Fonalledas.
Meso Express is a popular hometown eatery that serves full hot breakfasts and hot grilled Caribbean sandwiches. It is a Puerto Rican business with three establishments located in gas stations and shopping mall food courts in the San Juan metropolitan area.
Plaza del Caribe Inc. is the main shopping mall facility in southern Puerto Rico and an affiliate of Empresas Fonalledas.
Plaza Las Americas Inc. is the main shopping mall facility in Puerto Rico and an affiliate of Empresas Fonalledas.
San Jorge Children's Hospital provides healthcare services for children in Puerto Rico and the islands of the Caribbean. The hospital has a workforce of approximately 450 employees.
Soft & Creamy Inc. is an ice cream company chain and an affiliate of Empresas Fonalledas with approximately 100 employees.
Stryker Instruments Puerto Rico Inc. is a global orthopedic company operating in Puerto Rico for the past 30 years. The company has a workforce of approximately 1,000 employees.
Supermercados Maximo Inc. is a local supermarket company with a workforce of approximately 1,600 employees in its 15 stores.
V. Suarez & Co. Inc. is one of Puerto Rico's largest commercial groups and one of the largest Hispanic firms in the United States. The company is diversified in three distinct businesses: food and beverage distribution, investment management and real estate.
Western Meat Processors is a meat processing company that delivers all food supplies for the El Meson Sandwiches and Meso Express establishments.
Worldnet Telecommunications Inc. is the third largest provider of internet and telecommunications services in Puerto Rico. The company has a workforce of approximately 200 employees.
Undocumented workers create vulnerabilities in today's marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits, and stealing identities of legal United States workers. To combat this, ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006.
As part of the IMAGE program, ICE provides private companies with education and training on proper hiring procedures, including use of employment screening tools such as E-Verify. IMAGE certified companies also undergo an audit of their I-9 forms to ensure current employees are eligible to work in the United States.
Puerto Rico employers interested in learning more about IMAGE membership may call the ICE IMAGE coordinator in San Juan at 787-729-5151 or visit www.ICE.gov/image.