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Costco signs on to ICE IMAGE

The nation's largest warehouse club chain is partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the agency’s employee identification verification program.

The big box chain signed on to ICE's Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) during a signing ceremony on July 26. Under the voluntary IMAGE program, all Costco employees are verified by DHS and the Social Security Administration before they are allowed to work. Additionally, Costco management will learn methods to control unauthorized employment and recognize fraudulent identity documents.

Costco Wholesale Corporation, based in Issaquah, WA, currently operates 428 warehouses in the Unites States and Puerto Rico and employs more than 140,000 people, including seasonal workers. It is the 13th company to join IMAGE statewide.

Since 2006, ICE has partnered with employers in a wide range of industries, including employment services, aviation, transportation, construction, high technology, shipping and manufacturing under the IMAGE program. Currently, ICE claims more than 100 businesses nationwide are IMAGE members.

"I am pleased to welcome Costco Wholesale Corporation as an IMAGE partner," said Leigh Winchell, ICE Homeland Security Investigations special agent in charge in Seattle. "This action sends a strong message to the millions of Americans who do business with Costco that the company places a priority on hiring and employing a legal workforce."

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

The E-Verify program, administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, allows businesses to verify that newly hired employees are eligible to work in the United States. This web-based program, available in all 50 states at no cost to employers, provides an automated link to the Social Security Administration database and Department of Homeland Security immigration records.


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