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04/07/2011

New York human resources firm partners with ICE

Company is second in New York to sign IMAGE agreement

NEW YORK - A human resources and labor relations consulting firm on Long Island, N.Y., has signed an IMAGE agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Short for "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers," IMAGE provides businesses an opportunity to strengthen hiring practices and ensure a legal workforce.

Portnoy Messinger Pearl & Associates based in Syosset, N.Y., officially became a member of IMAGE at a signing ceremony on Thursday. IMAGE is a voluntary program that allows private industry to partner with ICE to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents.

"We are pleased to welcome another IMAGE partner in the state of New York and applaud this company's overt commitment to hiring and employing a legal workforce," said James T. Hayes, Jr., ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge in New York. "As a volunteer partner in this effort, Portnoy Messinger Pearl & Associates is making a strong statement in the business community that compliance with federal hiring laws is a priority."

"In keeping with our company's mission of assisting businesses in their compliance efforts, we are proud of becoming a business partner with ICE. The additional value of having the resources that ICE provides its IMAGE partners will bring added value to our clients and our staff," said Mark B. Portnoy, President of Portnoy Messinger Pearl & Associates, Inc.

When a company pursues IMAGE membership, ICE provides education and training on proper hiring procedures, including employment screening tools such as E-Verify and the Social Security Number Verification Services. The company also undergoes an audit of its I-9 forms to ensure current employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Initiated in 2006, the IMAGE program has partners throughout the United States and in a wide range of industries including employment services, aviation, transportation, construction, high technology, shipping and manufacturing. Currently, more than 100 businesses nationwide are IMAGE members.

The E-Verify program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, allows employers to verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. This web-based program, available in all 50 states at no cost to employers, provides an automated link to the Social Security Administration database and Department of Homeland Security immigration records.

New York-area employers interested in becoming IMAGE partners may contact the local IMAGE coordinator by calling 1-866-DHS-2ICE or visit www.ice.gov/image/.