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09/26/2012

Florida Potato and Onion LLC becomes IMAGE certified

Central Florida employer partners with ICE to ensure legal workforce and prevent fraud
Central Florida employer partners with ICE to ensure legal workforce and prevent fraud
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida distributor of fresh produce is the latest employer to be certified with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) employment compliance program, IMAGE, or "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers."

Florida Potato & Onion LLC has pledged and been officially certified by ICE to protect the integrity of its workforce. The certification was marked by a ceremony Sept. 26 at ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in Tampa. IMAGE is a voluntary program that helps employers comply with the law by equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure a legal, authorized workforce.

“In today’s world, employers have a responsibility to protect the integrity of their labor force by ensuring that their employees are who they represent themselves to be and that they are legally authorized to work in this country,” said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa.

Florida Potato & Onion LLC is headquartered in Plant City, Fla., and employs 61 people. The company began operations in 2004 and distributes multiple varieties of potatoes and onions to Florida markets.

With the addition of Florida Potato & Onion LLC, 13 Florida employers with more than 17,000 employees participate in the IMAGE program. Tampa Electric, TECO Energy Inc., Avant Healthcare Professionals LLC, Naples Hilton, CHEP USA, The Tampa Banking Company, Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority, Cutrale Citrus Juices USA Inc., as well as the boards of commissioners for Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus County have been certified by the IMAGE program.

Certified businesses pledge to maintain a secure and stable workforce and curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. To qualify for IMAGE certification, companies must meet 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.

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 813-357-7000 or visit ICE.gov/image.