U.S. Companies can face fines and even imprisonment for hiring undocumented workers. The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) created a program to assist employers in avoiding the hiring of illegal aliens. Created to combat unlawful employment and reduce identity theft through self-policing within industries or regions, IMAGE is the ICE announced Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers program.
IMAGE is a formal membership certification program for employers. It recognizes exceptional employers as role models in their communities and serves as an example for others to highlight the importance of immigration compliance.
Employers interested in the program must complete the IMAGE self-assessment questionnaire then review and sign the official IMAGE partnership agreement with ICE. Members will receive certification upon the completion of the education and training on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and use of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program. Members will also learn about the importance of avoiding discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision § 274B.8 U.S.C. § 1324b.
The agreement requires members to establish a clear hiring and employment eligibility policy which includes agreeing to an annual internal Form I-9 audit, participate in E-Verify within 60 days, and submitting to Form I-9 inspections.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes IMAGE will become an industry standard. The results of the IMAGE program will guide DHS in shaping future worksite enforcement policy and legislation.