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ICE offers seminar to help businesses comply with federal employment laws

3 local companies recently became ICE partners

SEATTLE -U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will host a seminar May 14 designed to help business owners strengthen their hiring practices and employ a legal workforce.

At the seminar, scheduled for Friday, May 14, ICE representatives will discuss the steps companies can take to establish a formal partnership with the federal government by becoming members of ICE's Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, more commonly referred to as IMAGE. Currently, more than 100 businesses nationwide are IMAGE members.

In the past two months, three western Washington companies were named IMAGE partners. They are Pacific Propeller International, LLC, in Kent; Silver Reef Casino in Ferndale; and Whitman Global Carpet Care in Woodinville. They are among eight Washington state companies that have become IMAGE members in the past two years.

One of the primary goals of IMAGE is to reduce the number of unauthorized workers by training employers to detect fraudulent or stolen identify documents. It also ensures that employers are aware of legal obligations under federal hiring laws.

When a company decides to pursue 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 will also undergo an audit of its I-9 forms to ensure current employees are eligible to work in the United States.

"When a company becomes an IMAGE member, it is making a strong statement within the business community that compliance with federal hiring laws is a priority," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations. "I encourage employers - regardless of size or industry - to consider partnering with ICE in this effort."

"For us, the decision to participate in IMAGE was an easy one," said David Whitman, chief executive officer of Whitman Global Carpet Care. "It illustrates our commitment to clients and our employees to always go above and beyond in every thing we do, from hiring to the services we provide."

"We are very pleased to be part of the IMAGE program, and we're particularly proud to be the first casino certified," said Harlan Oppenheim, general manager of the Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa. "The Silver Reef has taken the bold step of setting an industry standard among casinos nationwide to ensure our hiring practices comply with the law."

"Pacific Propeller International is honored to be a member of the IMAGE program," said Riesa Ragan, human resources administrator at Pacific Propeller International. "We are proud to promote adherence to federal hiring practices."

At the six-hour seminar on May 14, there will be a live demonstration of E-Verify, an overview of an I-9 audit, a presentation on document fraud and an opportunity to speak to current IMAGE partners who will share information on the certification process.

Current IMAGE members in Washington state include:

  • Accuwest Pacific, LLC, Sedro Woolley
  • The Chatterbox Restaurant, Inc., Stanwood
  • The Odom Corporation, Bellevue
  • Pacific Propeller International, LLC, Kent
  • The Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa, Ferndale
  • True Blue/Labor Ready, Tacoma
  • Twin City Foods, Inc., Stanwood
  • Whitman Global Carpet Care, Woodinville

To sign-up for the seminar or get additional information, please contact 206-442-2217 or e-mail seattleimage.seattleimage@dhs.gov no later than Wednesday, May 12.