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05/26/2010

Hilton Naples signs agreement with ICE to ensure legal status of workforce

Hotel is first company in Naples to sign IMAGE agreement

NAPLES, Fla. - The Hilton Naples is the city's first company to sign an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to strengthen hiring practices and combat the unlawful employment of illegal aliens.

Clark Wakefield Hill, general manager for Naples Hilton, signed the official agreement today with Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations overseeing the Naples office.

The agreement is part of a voluntary employer program known as IMAGE, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, which is a joint initiative between government and the business community.

IMAGE is a voluntary partnership program intended to strengthen overall employment practices and help employers comply with the law by equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure a legal, authorized workforce.

"We realize that the highest level of employment integrity can only be achieved through close coordination with industry partners," said McCormick. "The Hilton Naples will join IMAGE business participants in Florida and around the country who are committed to protect the integrity of their workforce by helping ensure that their employees are who they represent themselves to be."

The hotel, which is located at 5111 Tamiami Trail North, employs nearly 350 people.

As part of IMAGE, ICE will provide the companies with education and training on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection, use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program and the Social Security Number Verification Service, and anti-discrimination procedures.

All IMAGE participants gain membership to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. Through this program, employers can 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.

Upon enrollment in and commitment to DHS's Best Employment Practices, program participants will be deemed "IMAGE certified," a distinction DHS and ICE believe will become an industry standard.

Companies interested in more information on the IMAGE program or in obtaining an informational packet can call the ICE office in Tampa at (813) 357-7000 or visit www.ICE.gov.