WASHINGTON — JBS USA Holdings Inc., (JBS USA) one of the largest meat processing companies in the United States, is the newest member of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) nationwide program designed to encourage businesses to collaborate with ICE and use hiring best practices to ensure they are maintaining a lawful workforce.
JBS USA Chief Executive Officer Don Jackson and ICE Director John Morton signed the IMAGE, or "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers," agreement during a ceremony Wednesday at ICE headquarters. JBS USA is a leading processor of beef, pork and lamb in the United States, with more than 65,000 employees.
"ICE's collaboration with JBS USA reinforces this administration's commitment to working with industry to encourage a culture of compliance with U.S. employment laws," said Director Morton. "ICE is proud to be partnering with the company in this significant effort to protect our nation's lawful workforce."
"Today is an exciting day for JBS and serves as recognition of the considerable time, effort and financial resources we have invested in creating a top-flight workforce compliance culture," said Don Jackson, President and CEO, JBS USA. "It is also a testament to the tremendous commitment of our 65,000 employees, without whom this opportunity would not have been possible. Through our voluntary partnership with the government, it is my expectation that we will continue to raise the bar for compliance in our industry and beyond, and remain worthy of the status that IMAGE partnership confers."
IMAGE is a voluntary program that allows businesses to partner with ICE as part of their efforts to maintain an authorized workforce and protect themselves from the use of fraudulent identity documents by current or prospective employees. This program compliments ICE's worksite enforcement strategy, which focuses on holding employers accountable who knowingly hire unauthorized workers to minimize operating costs and boost profits.
Undocumented workers create vulnerabilities in today's marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, complete applications for fraudulent benefits, and steal identities of legal U.S. workers. To combat this, ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006.
All IMAGE members must participate in 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 completion of IMAGE program requirements, program participants are deemed "IMAGE certified," a distinction DHS and ICE believe will become an industry standard. IMAGE also provides employers with free training on the Form I-9, fraudulent document detection, and how to build a solid immigration compliance model.