"IMAGE," or "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers" is a voluntary program that allows private industry to partner with ICE to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents.
The two new Houston-area IMAGE members are:
- All-American Brothers Company in Houston is a maintenance and construction management company which provides general construction services to the federal government.
- Teleworld Staffing Inc. in Pasadena, Texas, is a women-owned staffing agency that specializes in Human Capital recruiting projects.
"The IMAGE partnership between ICE and employers ensures a high standard of integrity for our workforces," said John Connolly, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations in Houston. "In addition, IMAGE members increase the reputation of their brand and company."
To qualify for IMAGE certification, All-American Brothers and Teleworld Staffing Inc. 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; and
- Underwent a Form I-9 audit conducted by ICE.
"After one year with the IMAGE program, we have become completely confident that we provide qualified personnel to the job site. This program has validated our reputation among our client base, improved our performance criteria and reinforced our presence in the construction market place," said Tim Rogers, vice president of All-American Brothers.
Earlier this year, ICE signed IMAGE agreements in Houston with the following four local businesses: BMI Defense Systems Inc., a force-protection developer specializing in survivability equipment and accessories; TPI Staffing Inc., a Houston-owned company that provides staffing services to administrative, accounting, finance, IT and engineering firms; Digna Corporation, a female minority-owned general contractor dedicated to building homes; and L.K. Jordan and Associates, one of the largest privately owned professional recruiting and staffing firms in south Texas with local and national clients.
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 United States 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.
Upon enrollment in and commitment to the IMAGE Best Employment Practices, program participants are deemed "IMAGE certified," a distinction DHS and ICE believe will become an industry standard. IMAGE also provides to all employers free training on the Form I-9, fraudulent document detection, and building a solid immigration compliance model.
Companies interested in more information on the IMAGE program can call the ICE office in Houston at (281) 985-0573 or visit www.ICE.gov/image.