Press Release – March 21, 2012
NEW YORK – A Long Island biomedical company has partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by joining the agency’s employment compliance program IMAGE, or “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.”.
Avery Biomedical Devices, Inc. (ABD) is a manufacturer of the diaphragm pacing system, an implanted phrenic nerve stimulator which is used to free many quadriplegic and central hypoventilation patients from mechanical ventilation. ABD has entered into an agreement with ICE to protect the integrity of their workforce, and this new partnership was marked by a formal ceremony at ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York office.
“Avery Biomedical Devices, Inc.’s collaboration with ICE highlights the company’s pledge to comply with federal hiring standards for its workforce,” said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York. “ICE is committed to partnering with industry to maintain impeccable national standards for our workforce.”
“Our partnership with ICE allows us to provide workforce compliance, and it lifts ABD’s burden of hiring someone who does not have the legal documentation to work,” said Linda Towler, chief executive officer of Avery Biomedical Devices. “We can now focus on freeing many quadriplegic and central hypoventilation patients from mechanical ventilation with our diaphragm pacing system.”
IMAGE is a voluntary partnership that helps companies maintain a lawful workforce.
ICE’s employer-focused worksite enforcement strategy has yielded historic results. In fiscal year (FY) 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 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.