WASHINGTON — Two Northern Virginia companies are the newest members 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.
Superior Paving Corp. and Superior Trucking Corp. participated in a signing ceremony Wednesday at the ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in Washington, D.C., in which James A. Mitchell, president of both companies, and HSI Special Agent In Charge for Washington, D.C., John P. Torres signed the IMAGE, or "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers," agreement.
Superior Paving Corp. is a paving and asphalt mix supply company in Northern Virginia with 10 asphalt plants located from Leesburg to Fredericksburg, Va., employing over 300 employees.
"Businesses that volunteer to participate in the IMAGE program are partnering with HSI to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents," said Torres. "By joining IMAGE, businesses such as Superior Paving and Superior Trucking also increase the reputation of their brand and their company."
"We are pleased to participate in IMAGE. Our company shares two stated values with this program. Integrity and excellence are two key elements to the success of our company," said Mitchell. "We are glad to know that our workforce can meet the test of this group with respect to those values."
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 complements 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.