SAN DIEGO – A large San Diego-based technology firm that handles federal government contracts has become the latest area business to partner with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) by joining the agency's employment compliance program IMAGE, or "ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers."
Epsilon Systems Solutions Inc. is the 18th San Diego-area employer to become an IMAGE member. IMAGE is a voluntary partnership that helps employers maintain a lawful workforce and reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents.
"Epsilon Systems is honored to be part of the IMAGE program," said CEO Bryan Min. "Epsilon Systems works diligently to develop and continuously improve our workplace employment practices to be the very best while ensuring the highest level of integrity. Our core values and the use of best employment practices are in complete harmony with the goals of the IMAGE program."
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in San Diego, the employee-owned business currently has more than 900 workers in 20 locations throughout the United States. Epsilon System clients include the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, as well as other federal agencies, non-profit and commercial customers.
To qualify for IMAGE certification, partners agree to 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 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 free training to all employers on the provisions surrounding the Form I-9, fraudulent document detection, and building a solid immigration compliance model.