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09/10/2008

Several New Jersey firms and State League of Municipalities join ICE IMAGE program

26 members and 11 associate members welcomed to training conference on best hiring practices

NEWARK, NJ - Three New Jersey companies and the New Jersey State League of Municipalities are among the 26 newest members nationwide of ICE's IMAGE program - the Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers. The newest companies signed today at the recently opened IMAGE headquarters in Arlington, Virginia to the corporate compliance group that already included nine charter members. The new IMAGE members committed themselves to meeting the workforce compliance standards set by the IMAGE program at its inception in January 2007.

The three New Jersey companies that have just agreed to participate in IMAGE are Apartment Rehabilitation Corporation, First Montgomery Group, and United Communities LLC, all of Newark. The New Jersey State League of Municipalities also signed the IMAGE agreement today as an "endorsee" partner, pledging to promote IMAGE membership among its 566-member municipalities that they support and highly recommend the use of the IMAGE Best Employment Practices by their members.

The new companies from around the United States include a wide range of industries, including employment services, aviation, transportation, construction, high technology, shipping and manufacturing. In signing the IMAGE contract, these businesses are establishing a formal partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to follow the best hiring practices recommended by the program, train their staff to uphold the high standards required, and to use the screening tools offered by the federal government to ensure employees are lawfully authorized to work. Associate members are working to meet the standards set by the program, partnering with ICE officials to assess their business practices and improve, where necessary, the way they hire, process I-9 forms, maintain employment records and otherwise comply with U.S. laws on employment.

In welcoming the new companies, Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for ICE, said, "Thank you for joining ICE in protecting national security by ensuring the integrity of your workforces."

"Your ability to aspire to and meet the IMAGE standard is an example to all those in your industry of corporate leadership and good citizenship. It's also a signal to your clients and business partners that you care about your brand and their reputation in partnering with you."

Mr. William G. Dressel, Jr., Executive Director, New Jersey State League of Municipalities said, "The State League of Municipalities is delighted to be one of the first municipal associations of Mayors and Council Members to lend our name to the growing list of public and private organizations involved in the national Image program. By becoming actively involved in this effort, we hope municipal governments not only in New Jersey but throughout the Nation join IMAGE and actively encourage their members to join."

IMAGE membership begins with a self-assessment of hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that can be exploited by illegal aliens. Technical tools that screen job applicants, such as E-Verify, or screen Social Security Numbers, are integrated with best practices to assure that employees are legally eligible to work.

Companies that have been IMAGE members for more than two years attest that they are seeing more stability in their workforces and more interest on the part of clients in contracting with compliant companies.

After the ceremony, new members and associates joined the charter members in a three-day training by IMAGE experts in the latest safeguards for workforce integrity.

To learn more about the IMAGE program, go to www.ICE.gov/image/ and choose IMAGE from the "Partners" area of the website.