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El Paso school district, crate company join HSI IMAGE program to ensure compliant hiring practices

EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) was one of two El Paso businesses that joined Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) IMAGE, or Mutual Agreement between Government Employers program, Dec. 19.

Custom Crates & Pallets, LTD. also became a member of IMAGE, which assists employers strengthen their hiring practices and reduce unauthorized employment.

There are now 30 companies and businesses that partner with HSI’s IMAGE program in the SAC El Paso area of responsibility, which extends from Alpine, Texas, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“The El Paso school district and Custom Crates took the initiative to partner with IMAGE, and in doing so, set a positive example for other area employers to follow,” said HSI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Francisco B. Burrola. “We welcome them and applaud their commitment to protect the integrity of their workforce, while reducing unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents that can put our national security at risk.”

The El Paso Independent School District, the oldest school district in the El Paso area, employs more than 9,000 teachers, counselors and support personnel.

Custom Crates & Pallets LTD., which manufactures and sells crates and pallets to the greater El Paso manufacturing and shipping industries, is a family-owned business that was established in 2011 in Canutillo, Texas. It employs 40 people.

“EPISD became a member of the IMAGE program to ensure that with the joint initiative between government and our work community, we strengthen our hiring practices,” said Diana B. Uribe, human resources and lead customer representative for EPISD. “The district will benefit from this free program because we have the confidence of knowing that we have the support of HSI to help us comply with hiring people who are authorized to work in the United States.”

Adolfo Torres with Custom Crates & Pallets LTD. said his company aims to not only meet but to surpass the expectations of its customers, dedicated workforce, and valued vendors. “To propel our mission forward, we’ve formed a strategic alliance with Homeland Security Investigations through IMAGE. This partnership, rooted in a shared vision, enables us to align our processes seamlessly with the program’s principles.”

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 announced 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 (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 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 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.

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.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Learn more about HSI El Paso’s activity in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, @HSIElPaso.

Originally published at

- Part of VUGA -USA media group