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02/18/2009

Palmdale, Calif., recognized as IMAGE partner

PALMDALE, Calif. - At a Palmdale City Council meeting Feb. 18, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presented the City of Palmdale with a plaque in recognition of its participation in the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program. To qualify for IMAGE certification, the city has agreed to train its staff to uphold the program's high standards and use the screening tools offered by the federal government to ensure employees are legally authorized to work.

The IMAGE program has more than 40 employer-members nationwide. Palmdale is the only municipality enrolled in IMAGE.

IMAGE membership begins with participating employers conducting a self-assessment of hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by illegal aliens. Technical tools that screen job applicants are integrated with the program's best employment practices to assure that employees are legally eligible to work. Those tools include E-Verify, a free Internet-based employment eligibility verification system offered by the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Social Security Administration.

ICE is responsible for enforcing the nation's immigration and customs laws. The presence of unauthorized alien workers who have secured jobs by fraudulent means, including use of false documents, completion of fraudulent benefit applications and identity theft, is a great vulnerability for the nation's immigration system. To combat unlawful employment and reduce vulnerabilities that unauthorized aliens exploit to gain such employment, ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006. The goal is to assist employers to develop more secure and stable workforces and to enhance awareness of fraudulent documents through education and training.

For more information on IMAGE, go to www.ice.gov/image/.