Mississippi Business Becomes First to Join ICE’s IMAGE Program
Roy Anderson Corp. in Gulfport is the first Mississippi business to become a member of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) IMAGE program. The IMAGE program, or ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, is a voluntary program that helps employers comply with the law by equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure a legal, authorized workforce.
At the signing ceremony today, Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New Orleans said, “ICE recognizes that the highest level of employment integrity can only be achieved through close coordination with industry partners. Roy Anderson Corp. will join IMAGE business participants around the country who are committed to protect the integrity of their workforce by helping ensure that their employees are who they represent themselves to be.”
To qualify for IMAGE certification, Roy Anderson Corp. conducted a self-assessment of its hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by illegal aliens; enrolled in employment eligibility verification programs, such as E-Verify and the Social Security Number Verification Service; trained its staff on IMAGE Best Practices and how to use the new screening tools; and underwent a Form I-9 audit by ICE.
“Our acceptance into the IMAGE Program not only fortifies our position as a responsible corporate citizen, it reaffirms our pride in the diversity of our compliant workforce,” said Debbie Bermond, vice president of human resources for the Roy Anderson Corp. “Their contributions strengthen our economy and embody the American ideal of hard work.”
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. The IMAGE program provides employers with screening tools to prevent unauthorized workers from being hired.
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 Form I-9, fraudulent document detection, and building a solid immigration compliance model.