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09/05/2013

24 Puerto Rico companies become IMAGE certified

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Twenty-four Puerto Rican businesses Wednesday 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 24 companies, representing the automotive, retail, healthcare, restaurant, security, agriculture, food, banking and telecommunications industries, officially became members of ICE's Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) 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, 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, these companies have made a commitment to protecting our nation's lawful workforce."

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.

The following companies signed the IMAGE agreement:

Brodersen Enterprises of Puerto Rico Inc. The company operates and franchises more than 2,000 Popeye's restaurants, worldwide.

Toledo & Co. is an international company founded in 2003 that distributes steel and bronze locks in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Golden Arch Development Corp. The corporation provides management, training and administrative services to the components of Arcos Dorados Puerto Rico, the largest operator of McDonald's restaurant franchises in Latin America. Golden Arch Development Corp. employs 110 individuals.

Cabrera Grupo Automotriz Corp., Cabrera Hnos. Inc., and Cabrera Auto Group have been engaged in the sales of cars since 1954. Cabrera offers parts and service to support all their brands. They offer a variety of 13 different car brands among their different Cabrera companies.

Barranquitas Auto Corp. Bentitez Auto, is a car concessionary in the metropolitan area of San Juan. They currently employ 65 individuals among their two car concessionaries in Puerto Rico.

Computer Distributors Inc. was founded in 1983 and their principal business is the sale and service of multi-user small, medium and large business computer systems and application software, personal computers, servers, networking and other computer-related equipment.

Cooperativa de Ahorro y Credito del Valenciano (Valencoop) is a credit union organized under the laws of Puerto Rico and meeting all requirements of the Credit Union Act, which employs 27 individuals.

Arcos Dorados Puerto Rico employs more than 4,000 individuals in Puerto Rico and is the major McDonald's restaurant franchise operator in Latin America.

Empire Gas Inc. started operations in 1967 and is one of the largest distributors of liquid gas in Puerto Rico with more than 50 percent of the market. Empire Gas Inc. distributes an annual average of 40 million gallons of propane gas. The company is divided into commercial and industrial divisions and employs approximately 200 individuals.

Motorambar Inc. is an exclusive network for Nissan with 15 dealerships and 17 service centers located throughout Puerto Rico.

Rooms To Go Puerto Rico Inc. is one of the most important independent furniture companies with the nation's largest furniture inventory.

Caribe Federal Credit Union was founded in 1951 by a group of federal employees. The credit union is a non-profit financial institution organized and chartered under the Federal Credit Union Act to serve federal employees in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Corporacion de Servicios de Ama de Llaves Inc. provides home care services to the elderly, disabled and children. The corporation employs approximately 2,000 individuals.

Mendez & Co. was founded in 1912. Currently, after 100 years of operation, the legacy of Mendez & Co founders is one of the leaders in wholesale distribution of beers, liqueurs, meats and food products.

Marpor Corp., with headquarters in Caguas, employs 764 individuals among their 11 Denny's restaurants in Puerto Rico.

Fast Food Management Inc. developed and operates The Hot Potato, Top Potato and Reggio fast food restaurants.

Cesar Castillo Inc. is a privately owned family corporation incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The company operates 4 divisions: Drogueria Castillo, a wholesale distribution of pharmaceutical products; Cesar Castillo Inc., a wholesale distribution of health and beauty care and consumer goods; Castillo Specialty, which sells pharmaceutical products to physicians and specialty pharmacies; and Castillo Logistics Services Inc. which provides third party logistic services to customers.

Allied Logistics Corp. is a provider of transportation services, storage and distribution in Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic which employs 164 individuals. They are a company focused in specialized transportation, warehousing and distribution of products.

Ranger American of Puerto Rico is a professional security organization with an extensive background in the security investigations field.

Eleven Eleven Corp. was established in Puerto Rico in 1962. It began operations as a hosiery manufacturer of men's dress socks under the label "Once Once". The company currently employs 21 individuals and has been in business for 51 years.

Edge Hospitality Enterprises Inc. is a company dedicated to restaurant administration focused on hotel facilities in tourist areas.

OOF! Inc. is a company dedicated to the administration of four restaurants in the Old San Juan tourist area: Parrot Club, AguaViva, El Toro Salao and Dragon Fly.

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.