WASHINGTON – Tyson Foods Inc. has become the first major food company in the US to become a full member of the IMAGE program with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). IMAGE is the acronym for ‘ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.’

This program enables businesses to voluntarily partner with the federal government to ensure they are employing people who are legally authorized to work in the US, providing they first meet rigorous standards.

“We believe our participation confirms to our customers, plant communities and others that Tyson uses best hiring practices to maintain a lawful workforce,” Ken Kimbro, Tyson senior vice president and chief human resources officer, said during a Jan. 20 signing ceremony in Washington, DC. “We also believe this partnership will enhance our ability to collaborate with government officials on immigration-related matters.”

"ICE’s collaboration with Tyson Foods illustrates this administration’s commitment to working with industry to encourage a culture of compliance with US employment laws," said John Morton, ICE director. “Tyson Foods is setting the gold standard for Fortune 500 companies everywhere, and ICE is proud to be partnering with the company in this significant effort to protect our nation’s lawful workforce.”

Tyson employs approximately 100,000 people throughout the US. To become certified, the company made all of its Form I-9 employment eligibility documents available for ICE review, cooperated with government field audits of selected plant locations and also allowed ICE to check the Social Security numbers of all company employees. The certification process gave Tyson the opportunity to show how the company is already using best hiring practices.

“We use all available tools provided by the US government to verify the documents of the people we hire,” Kimbro said. “We also go beyond government-provided tools in our verification efforts. We’ve spent millions of dollars over the years on such things as training, computer systems and help from outside consultants to make sure we’re employing people who are authorized to work in our country.”

Tyson has voluntarily participated in the online government employment verification program currently known as E-Verify since 1998. The company also voluntarily uses the ‘Social Security Number Verification System,’ an online service that allows employers to verify the names and Social Security numbers of employees against Social Security Administration records.