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08/15/2017

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Houston-area restaurant joins ICE 'IMAGE' program

Houston-area restaurant joins ICE 'IMAGE' program
(L to R): Pasadena (TX) Police Chief Al Espinoza; Pasadena Mayor Jeff A. Wagner; Pappa Yolk’s Grill Owner, Joe Neel McGovern.; ASAC Robert Graham and GS Brent Crawley

HOUSTON — A Houston-area restaurant has partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) by joining the agency’s employment compliance program called “IMAGE,” or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.

Joe Neel McGovern, owner of Pappa Yolk’s Grill, located at 5824 Spencer Highway in Pasadena, Texas, has volunteered his company to enter into the IMAGE program. The new partnership was marked by a ceremony Wednesday at the HSI Houston office.

“Bad hiring practices can hurt American businesses. That is why forging partnerships within the business community are so important,” said Mark Dawson, special agent in charge for HSI Houston. “The IMAGE program is essential to safeguarding our economy simply by ensuring good business practices.”

“Partnering with the Homeland Security Image Program will strengthen Pappa Yolk’s Grill hiring practices and also educate our employees on how to abide by the nations laws,” said Joel McGovern, owner of Pappa Yolk’s Grill. “We welcome the partnership as it makes our company a safer place for our customers and employees. We urge other companies to partner with the Homeland Security Image program. Working together, we can make a huge difference.” Pappa Yolk’s Grill opened in November 1983 offering a hometown, family-friendly restaurant.

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 U.S. 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 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.

Companies interested in more information about the IMAGE program can visit www.ICE.gov/image.

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