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Latino Daily News

Wednesday March 9, 2011

Maine Business Becomes 1st in State to Sign ICE Agreement

A wreath manufacturing company has become the first business in Maine to sign an agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to strengthen hiring practices and to combat the unlawful employment of illegal aliens.

Whitney Wreath President and CEO David Whitney and the Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston, Bruce M. Foucart, signed the IMAGE or “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers,” agreement during a ceremony at the company’s headquarters in Whitneyville, Maine.

“IMAGE is a voluntary program that allows private industry to partner with ICE to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents,” said Special Agent in Charge Foucart. “We applaud Whitney Wreath for its unwavering pledge to maintain its image in the community as a reputable employer and good corporate neighbor.”

Whitney Wreath is one of the largest producers of fresh holiday wreaths and home decorations in the nation. Since 1984, Whitney Wreath has been providing fresh, full balsam wreaths to families throughout the U. S. In 2009, Whitney Wreath was selected as the provider of holiday balsam products for L.L. Bean. Winning this competitive selection process, along with Whitney’s long-standing relationship since 1993 with QVC, one of the largest multimedia retailers in the world, established Whitney Wreath as the largest mail-order Christmas wreath company in the United States.

To qualify for IMAGE certification, Whitney Wreath performed the following requirements:

+  Conducted self-assessments of their hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by illegal aliens;

+  Enrolled in employment eligibility verification programs, such as E-Verify and the Social Security Number Verification Service;

+  Trained their staffs on IMAGE Best Practices and how to use the new screening tools;
Underwent a Form I-9 audit conducted by ICE.