Paulson Manufacturing, based in Temecula, Calif., and Fox Transportation, headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., recently signed agreements to participate in IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers), a voluntary program in which ICE partners with businesses to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. Representatives for the two firms, which together employ more than 800 workers, took part in a ceremony Tuesday at ICE's San Bernardino office to formally mark their entry into the program.
There are now a total of five Los Angeles-area employers partnering with ICE under the IMAGE program, and more than 150 businesses nationwide.
"Our IMAGE partnerships enable us to foster best practices in the employment arena, and that, in turn, contributes to a safe and productive work environment," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Los Angeles. "When employers make a commitment to hire and maintain a lawful workforce, it's good for their business and it's good for the community."
To qualify for IMAGE certification, the two Inland Empire employers will need to comply with the following requirements:
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days;
- Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes internal I-9 audits at least once per year; and
- Submit to a Form I-9 inspection.
Founded more than 60 years ago, Paulson Manufacturing is a family-owned firm that produces protective gear for industrial and public safety applications worldwide. The company currently employs more than 100 workers at its 42,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Temecula.
"As a defense contractor, our company must meet many strict contract requirements and IMAGE is one way of verifying that we are in compliance," said Roy Paulson, president of Paulson Manufacturing. "With IMAGE, you have the confidence of knowing your employees have been vetted by a third party. It's great protection for the employer."
Like Paulson Manufacturing, the second new Los Angeles-area IMAGE member, Fox Transportation, is also a family-owned business with a long history in the Inland Empire. Boasting a payroll of more than 700 personnel, Fox provides transportation services to clients in five states.
"Our reputation depends on getting clients' products to their destinations on time, every time. Having a stable, reliable workforce is crucial to our continued success," said Michael Fox, chief executive officer for Fox Transportation. "We believe working with ICE as part of the IMAGE program will not only help us to maintain our edge in this very competitive industry, it's the right way to conduct business."
Undocumented workers create vulnerabilities in today's marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits, and stealing the identities of legal U.S. workers. To combat this, ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006.
Upon enrollment in and commitment to the IMAGE Best Employment Practices, program participants are deemed "IMAGE certified," a distinction the Department of Homeland Security and ICE believe will become an industry standard. IMAGE also provides all employers free training on the Form I-9, fraudulent document detection, and building a solid immigration compliance model.
Los Angeles-area companies interested in obtaining more information about the IMAGE program are encouraged to contact HSI's Los Angeles IMAGE coordinator at (213) 830-5566. In addition, Los Angeles HSI will host an IMAGE Employer's Conference in May 2012. Further details about the conference will be available soon at www.ice.gov/image. At the conference, employers will receive additional information about the IMAGE program, the E-verify system, along with how to determine employee eligibility and detect counterfeit documents.