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02/26/2020

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3 South Texas businesses partner with ICE HSI's IMAGE program

3 South Texas businesses partner with ICE HSI’s IMAGE program
Left to Right: Leonel Zamora-Ceballos, Providencia Investments Group managing member; Idalia Canales, Palm Valley Health Care, INC. chief executive officer; Shane Folden, special agent in charge for HSI San Antonio; and Veronica Solis Ramirez, city of Weslaco (Texas) resources/civil service director

HARLINGEN, Texas — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) welcomed three partners to the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program Tuesday during a signing ceremony.

IMAGE is a nationwide program that assists employers, strengthens hiring practices and curtails the employment of unauthorized workers through outreach, education and partnership.

"HSI is pleased to welcome the agency's newest partners: city of Weslaco, Palm Valley Healthcare, INC., and Providencia Investment Groups," said Shane Folden, special agent in charge for HSI San Antonio. "HSI is creating a culture of compliance by building cooperative relationships with employers who strengthen hiring practices and encourage compliance to ensure a lawful workforce."

City of Weslaco

Weslaco was founded in 1919, taking its name from the initials of the W E. Stewart Land Co. Under the leadership and guidance of Mayor David Suarez and City Manager Mike R. Perez, the city of Weslaco provides a wide variety of municipal services to its citizens. Among those services are sanitation, water, streets, inspections, fire/ambulance, police, emergency management as well as municipal court, parks, information technology and utilities.

Palm Valley Health Care, INC.

Palm Valley Health Care, INC. provides appropriate interventions that enable its clients and their families the maximum authorized care, whether it be home health services or personal attendant services. The agency staff is experienced and trained to provide personal caregiver, clinical, and rehabilitative services to individuals who require assistance in any of these areas.

Providencia Investments Group

Providencia Investments Group, organized and established in 2016, provides accounting and income tax services to the business community and individuals in Harlingen, Texas. Its mission and goal are to provide sound business practices and income tax planning to its clients. The company assists its clients to maximize their income tax liability and enhance the benefits of business ownership while encouraging full compliance with rules and regulations as established by the Internal Revenue Code.

To qualify for IMAGE certification, partners must agree to a variety of conditions:

  • conduct a self-assessment of their hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by unauthorized workers;
  • enroll in E-Verify, an employment eligibility verification program;
  • train staff on IMAGE Best Employment Practices and the use of new screening tools; and
  • undergo a Form I-9 audit by ICE.

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 U.S. 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.

IMAGE members will also learn about the importance of avoiding discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision §274B.8U.S.C.§1324b.

Central and south Texas employers interested in learning more about IMAGE membership should call the ICE IMAGE coordinator in San Antonio at 210-967-7263 or visit ICE.gov/image

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/26/2020