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04/22/2013

First Yuma company partners with ICE, becomes 'IMAGE certified'

First Yuma company partners with ICE, becomes IMAGE certified
First Yuma company partners with ICE, becomes IMAGE certified
YUMA, Ariz. — A concrete company became the first employer in Yuma to partner with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in a nationwide program designed to strengthen hiring practices and combat the unlawful employment of unauthorized workers.

Evans Custom Concrete was certified as an "IMAGE" or "ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers" partner during a ceremony Thursday. IMAGE is a voluntary program that allows private industry to partner with ICE to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents.

"I am pleased to welcome Evans Custom Concrete as Yuma's first IMAGE partner," said Scott Brown, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. "HSI recognizes the highest level of workforce integrity can only be achieved through close coordination with industry partners. Evans Custom Concrete joins 20 other companies in Arizona and hundreds around the country that have committed to maintaining a lawful workforce."

Evans Custom Concrete, founded in 2006, is a commercial and residential concrete contractor based in Yuma. The firm, which has 30 employees, has provided concrete construction services for a variety of projects in the Yuma area, including the new Fry's grocery store in the Foothills and renovations of Alexander Toyota and Yuma Honda.

"We are honored to be the first company in Yuma County to be part of the IMAGE program," said Les Evans, owner of Evans Custom Concrete. "Good hiring practices are an important factor in keeping compliant with state and federal regulations. I believe this benefits not only our company but our employees as well."

Undocumented workers can 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. To date, 21 Arizona companies have become certified IMAGE partners.

As part of the IMAGE program, ICE provides private companies with education and training on proper hiring procedures, including use of employment screening tools such as E-Verify. IMAGE certified companies also undergo an audit of their I-9 forms to ensure current employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Yuma employers interested in learning more about IMAGE membership may call the ICE IMAGE coordinator in Yuma at 928-341-7737 or visit www.ICE.gov/image.