PHOENIX — A Phoenix-based mining company Thursday became the newest employer to join U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) IMAGE program, which is designed to strengthen hiring practices and reduce unauthorized employment.
Freeport-McMoRan, the world’s largest publicly traded copper, molybdenum, oil and natural gas producer, boasts a workforce of some 80,000 employees and contractors. The company operates seven regional copper mines – five in Arizona and two in New Mexico. Additionally, the company runs copper and molybdenum processing facilities in Texas, Iowa, Connecticut, and New Jersey. All of the company’s U.S. operating facilities and its corporate office obtained IMAGE certification.
As the 32nd Arizona-based business to sign up for the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE), Freeport-McMoRan has agreed to partner with ICE and perform the actions required to obtain IMAGE certification. Those include: conducting a self-assessment of hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by unauthorized workers; enrolling in E-verify, an employment eligibility verification program; training staff on IMAGE Best Employment Practices and the use of new screening tools; and undergo a Form I-9 audit by ICE.
“We had a great deal of enthusiasm from all of our HR professionals who partnered with ICE to achieve this milestone certification,” said Todd Graver, vice president of operations, human resources. “All of them recognized that we were able to improve on our already strong hiring processes and are very proud of this achievement.”
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.
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.
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.
Companies interested in more information on the IMAGE program can call HSI Phoenix at (602) 407-6155 or visit www.ICE.gov/image.