Rizzo Services, United Lawnscape Inc. and QPS, a staffing company, have entered into an agreement with ICE to protect the integrity of their workforce. The new partnerships were marked Monday by formal ceremonies at each company's headquarters.
IMAGE is a voluntary partnership that helps companies maintain a lawful workforce.
"Worksite enforcement has traditionally focused on employees and employers, however, we are seeing a growing interest among business executives who want to learn more about the business benefits of having a compliant workforce," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Detroit. "They're recognizing how avoiding expensive fines and the public awareness that come with these fines makes good business sense."
"Rizzo Services believes becoming an IMAGE partner is important for us as a good corporate citizen. We have always maintained excellent relationships with our law enforcement community and this was one way to show that we are on board and willing to help," said Chuck Rizzo Jr., president of Rizzo Services. "Our entire organization is geared toward exemplary client service and part of that equation involves integrity. This IMAGE agreement helps demonstrate to our clients and potential customers that Rizzo Services is committed to maintaining high standards."
"United Lawnscape is excited to announce our partnership with the IMAGE Program. Providing workforce compliance should be a standard in all industries within our great country," said John Wernis, president of United Lawnscape. "Protecting our workforce, communities and customers within United Lawnscape's service markets will set a standard for our industry."
ICE's employer-focused worksite enforcement strategy has yielded historic results. In fiscal year 2011, nationally ICE conducted 2,496 Form I-9 audits, up from 503 in FY 2008. During the same period, 221 employers were arrested and final orders for $10,463,987 in fines were assessed. As a result of workforce violations, 115 individuals and 97 businesses were debarred from federal contracts in 2011.
Businesses that partner with ICE through the IMAGE program maintain a secure and stable workforce and curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. ICE recently revamped IMAGE, simplifying program requirements.
To qualify for IMAGE certification, companies must perform 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.
Undocumented workers create vulnerabilities in today's marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and stealing identities of legal United States 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.
Companies interested in more information on the IMAGE program can call HSI Detroit at (313) 226-0543, or visit www.ICE.gov/image.