CMA staff recently attended an information webinar on the IMAGE certification process through the Department of Homeland Security and would like to pass this valuable information on to our members.
ICE has streamlined the IMAGE certification process. IMAGE now offers a formal membership certification program that focuses on exceptional employers that can effect change within their industry or region. These employers also serve as an example and role model in the business community while highlighting the importance and viability of immigration compliance. Program participants will be deemed IMAGE certified upon enrollment and completion of IMAGE membership requirements. Employer feedback on the IMAGE program and industry participation in IMAGE will serve to guide DHS in shaping future worksite enforcement policy.
By voluntarily participating in the IMAGE program, companies can reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. As part of IMAGE, ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide 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.
Employers seeking certification in IMAGE must agree to:
- Complete the IMAGE Self-Assessment Questionnaire (Application)
- Enroll in the E-Verify program within 60 days
- Establish a written hiring and employment eligibility verification policy that includes an internal Form I-9 audit at least once a year
- Submit to a Form I-9 Inspection
- Review and sign an official IMAGE partnership agreement with ICE
Upon enrollment and commitment to DHS’ best employment practices, program participants will be deemed “IMAGE Certified” – a distinction DHS believes will become an industry standard. The results of the IMAGE program will guide DHS in shaping future worksite enforcement policy and legislation.
IMAGE members are required to participate in E-Verify, an Internet-based system that compares information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to data from U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. For more information about the Form I-9 visit I-9 Central, a website dedicated to making guidance more accessible and user-friendly. The site provides employees and employers with one online location to keep them up to date with the information needed to properly complete Form I-9.
The Department of Justice Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act § 274B, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b. This statute prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee that is based on an individual’s national origin or citizenship status. The statute also prohibits discrimination during the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9 and E-Verify) process (document abuse), and retaliation or intimidation.
IMAGE Certification Benefits:
- Public recognition of the employer’s IMAGE certification
- Avoidance of lawsuits and other legal actions resulting from unauthorized employment
- Brand name protection
- A stable workforce
- No Form I-9 inspection for a minimum of four years
- ICE provided training and guidance on proper hiring procedures and fraudulent document awareness