In a presentation to the quarterly membership meeting of the Greater Boston Chapter of the American Payroll Association, HSI explained its certification process involving the I-9 inspection, E-Verify program and IMAGE, which stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.
"The goal of the IMAGE program is to curtail the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach, education and partnerships," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI in Boston. "We are pleased to share this important outreach effort with the APA to help strengthen payroll practices that significantly contribute to a legal workforce."
"We value ICE's outreach and the effort to help inform and educate our members on the importance of a legal workforce and the tremendous benefits for companies who are doing the right thing," said Susan Baptista, president of the Boston chapter of APA. "Information drives compliance and this is what this is all about."
The American Payroll Association promotes itself as the leading advocate for the advancement of payroll professionals and a catalyst for connecting the payroll industry with employers and government. Founded in 1982, the association creates opportunities and forges a strong community by providing the education, skills, and resources necessary for payroll professionals to become successful leaders and strategic partners within their organizations.
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 Boston at (617) 565-6286, or visit www.ICE.gov/image.