TAMPA, Fla. – Lakeland-based Publix Super Markets Inc., the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the United States, became the latest employer Friday to partner with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) employment compliance program.
As part of this agreement, Publix has pledged to maintain a secure and stable workforce and curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. To qualify for IMAGE or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers certification, companies must perform the following requirements:
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days,
- Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes internal Form I-9 audits at least once per year and
- Submit to a Form I-9 inspection.
“With this certification, Publix makes a strong statement in supporting federal hiring laws,” said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Tampa. “We want to thank Publix for helping reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents .”
“As an employee-owned business, it is important to us to ensure we follow the best hiring practices available,” said John Hrabusa, senior vice-president at Publix. “We are proud to join U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the IMAGE program and look forward to the greater efficiencies it brings to our company.”
Publix employs 167,000 people at 1,077 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The company had nearly $29 billion in retail sales in 2013. It was established in 1930 in Winter Haven.
With the addition of Publix, 19 Florida companies with more than 186,000 employees participate in the IMAGE program. EKS LLC, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc., Pelican Bay LTD and Ramcon LLC, are some of the most recent employers to be certified by the IMAGE program.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program enables employers to verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. This Internet-based system is available throughout the nation and is free to employers. It provides an automated link to the Social Security Administration database and DHS immigration records.
Companies interested in more information about the IMAGE program can call 813-357-7137 or visit ICE.gov/image.