Longs construction company signs state agreement to only hire legal workers

LONGS – In an effort to help cut back on hiring illegal immigrants, Coastal Steel and Acoustics (CSA), an Horry County construction company, signed the state’s first agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Monday. The agreement is to strengthen its hiring practices and combat the hiring of illegal aliens.

Jack Doyle, the company’s co-owner, said this was a voluntary move. He said he wants to set an example and make sure that those who are legally in the country get a fair chance at making a living, and do not find themselves competing against those who are unlawfully here and are working for lower wages.
The agreement is part of a voluntary employer program known as IMAGE, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, which is a joint initiative between government and the business community to restore integrity to the U.S immigration system. By voluntarily participating in the IMAGE program, companies can reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents.

“Quite honestly we were getting pretty fed up with the illegal aliens that were working for other companies taking away our business and that is very rampant in our business,“ said Doyle, “For example say that company ‘X’ hires 90 percent of illegal aliens and pays them in cash on Fridays and here we are a fully-insured company paying all of the benefits that come along with a legal employee, therefore we cant come close to competing with that.”

“Our first priority in work site cases is criminal cases, “said Kenneth Smith, special agent with ICE, “We work to enforce criminal laws for violations of employment authorizations—-companies that knowingly employ individuals illegally, we will target criminally.“

Smith said the reason the agency wants to especially partner with construction businesses is because that industry draws a lot of people who are unauthorized to work in the U.S. It’s something Doyle said his company would not tolerate.

“We always speak English on our jobs, so that’s also a safety factor,“ Doyle said, “We know that we can sleep at night knowing that we are not going to have anybody coming policing us and fining us or putting us in jail for getting illegal hires.“

If any business or local company signs an agreement with ICE, it also encourages them to use the Department of Homeland Security’s E-verify program. The program is a free, Internet-based system that checks to see if newly-hired employees are eligible to work in the United States.

For more information on this agreement, log on to http://www.ice.gov.


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