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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. Contractor, Trade School Among 6 Businesses Joining HSI IMAGE Program to Ensure Compliant Hiring Practices

Contractor, Trade School Among 6 Businesses Joining HSI IMAGE Program to Ensure Compliant Hiring Practices

Release Date: June 18, 2024

EL PASO, Texas — Six area businesses joined Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) IMAGE, or Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers program and another renewed its agreement June 17.

HSI El Paso Acting SAC Jason T. Stevens (4th from right) welcomed six businesses that joined the HSI IMAGE program on June 17, 2024.

IMAGE assists employers improve their hiring practices and eliminate unauthorized employment. The program is free and serves the business community by strengthening their hiring practices through training and education. It’s a voluntary partnership initiative between the federal government and private sector employers. Businesses that enroll in IMAGE are provided with several trainings and guidance in topics such as anti-discrimination, fraudulent documents, E-Verify, forced labor and an overview on child labor.

HSI El Paso acting Special Agent in Charge Jason T. Stevens signed the certificates on behalf of HSI for the following businesses that have completed the training:

  • PC Automated Controls, Inc.
  • Mirador Enterprises, Inc.
  • Felher Transportation, Inc.
  • El Paso Staffing Services, LLC.
  • El Paso Trade School, Inc. d/b/a Western Technical College.
  • Cano HR Group, LLC.

Patagonian Foods, LLC, doing business as Garufa Argentinean Restaurant, signed a renewal agreement.

Since the program started in 2006, HSI El Paso has partnered with 33 businesses in its area of responsibility, which includes West Texas and New Mexico. The membership is for four years with the option to renew for another four years.

“For us it’s not about catching people doing wrong, but helping people do things right. That’s really what we’re here for,” said Stevens. “While HSI is a member of the law enforcement community, we live and serve in the very community that we protect, and we are happy to serve and help business owners hire and maintain a lawful workforce.”

HSI El Paso leads the nation in IMAGE outreach counts and new IMAGE members for fiscal year 2024. HSI agents and support personnel have conducted 20 IMAGE presentations since Oct. 1, reaching out to approximately 200 businesses.

“Collaborating with the Department of Homeland Security through IMAGE provides our business with helpful resources to ensure our hiring practices comply with employment laws and prevent illegal employment,” said Martha Molinar, human resources director for Western Technical College. “We strive to maintain the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, ensuring a secure and lawful workplace for all our employees.”

Undocumented workers may secure jobs through fraudulent means, such as presenting false documents, completing fraudulent benefit applications, and stealing the identity of legal U.S. workers. The IMAGE program helps combat unlawful employment and reduce vulnerabilities that help undocumented noncitizens gain such employment.

To qualify for IMAGE certification, partners must agree to the following conditions:

  • 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.
  • Undergo a Form I-9 audit by HSI.

The IMAGE program was created in July 2006 to assist employers develop a more secure and stable workforce. It also enhances fraudulent document awareness through education and training.

IMAGE now offers a formal membership certification program that focuses on exceptional employers that have the ability to 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.

All IMAGE members must participate in the Department of Homeland Security 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 HSI believe will become an industry standard. IMAGE also provides free training to all employers on the provisions surrounding their Forms I-9 fraudulent document detection and building a solid immigration compliance model.

IMAGE members will also learn about the importance of avoiding discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provision.

The U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division Immigrant and Employee Rights Section enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. 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 Training Presentations

HSI El Paso conducts IMAGE training presentations. The training sessions are free to employers after making a reservation.

For more information, El Paso business owners should contact the HSI El Paso IMAGE coordinator at 915-857-6150 or 915-857-6370.

Learn more about HSI El Paso’s mission and investigations in your community at @HSIElPaso.

Last Updated: 06/26/2024
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