TAMPA, Fla. – Three Florida companies became the latest employers to be certified by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) employment compliance program called IMAGE at a ceremony Thursday.
IMAGE stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers. As part of this agreement, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, Esprix Technologies LP and Fresh Express Incorporated, have pledged to maintain a secure and stable workforce and curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach and education. To qualify for IMAGE certification, companies must perform the following requirements:
- Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Questionnaire (Application);
- 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.
Hillsborough County Aviation Authority has 625 full-time employees responsible for the daily operation, administration and maintenance of Tampa International Airport. The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority is an independent special district of the State of Florida, established by the 1945 Florida Legislature with exclusive jurisdiction, control, supervision and management over all publicly owned airports in Hillsborough County.
“We look forward to the greater efficiencies our partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, through IMAGE program, will bring to our company,” said Dominic Macrone, director of human resources for Hillsborough County Aviation Authority.
Esprix Technologies, headquartered in Sarasota, is a provider of high performance chemistries such as pharmaceutical intermediates and other fine chemicals, specialty materials for imaging systems, advanced chemistries for sophisticated electronic applications, flux systems for automotive heat exchangers, and specialized chemistry for textile applications. Esprix also has overseas operations in India, China and Japan. Annual revenue is estimated at 20 to 50 million dollars employing 20 to 49 people worldwide.
"Esprix takes the security of our company, community and nation very seriously. Joining IMAGE and working with ICE helps us to maintain a high integrity and quality workforce,” said Cary A. Veith, Phd, Esprix Technologies president. “We are delighted to be partnering with this federal agency to help us enhance the security and quality of our business and our country."
Chiquita Brands is a leading international marketer and distributor of fresh bananas, blends of green salads and other fruits to snacking products. The company markets its fresh products under the Chiquita and Fresh Express premium brands and other related trademarks. With an annual revenue of more than 3.1 billion dollars in 2013 and operating in 70 countries worldwide.
Fresh Express, Inc. brand, with corporate offices in Winderemere, approximate annual sales are $1 billion dollars, with a 40% market share in the United States employing 20,000 people worldwide 4,000 of which are employed in the United States.
“Joining IMAGE as a partner with ICE is a proactive approach for our company, helping ensure we provide the best support to our customers and employees,” said Beisy Hernandez, Regional Human Resource Manager with Fresh Express.
These companies join 23 additional central and northern Florida companies with more than 189,000 employees participate in the IMAGE program. Publix Super Markets Inc. EKS Group LLC, Visual Awareness Technologies and Consulting Inc. Pelican Bay LTD, Gravity-Ratterman LLC and Ramcon LLC, are some of the most recent employers to be certified by the IMAGE program.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) E-Verify employment eligibility verification program enables employers to 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 about the IMAGE program can call 813-357-7137 or visit ICE.gov/image.