Milford is the first town in Massachusetts to partner with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in its Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) program.
What is IMAGE?
The IMAGE program is designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from gaining illegal employment as well as “reduce vulnerabilities” that allow undocumented workers to do so. It helps employers to “develop a more secure and stable workforce” and also provides education and training to program participants to increase their knowledge of often-used false documents.
Milford and IMAGE
Milford officials voted unanimously on July 9 to join the IMAGE program, which will be used to verify that all municipal employees are eligible to work in the United States. The program provides participants with rapid computer verification, through a system called E-Verify, of I-9 employment eligibility forms. After only five to six seconds, the system is able to determine if the information on the form is correct and if the person has U.S. citizenship.
However, not everyone in Milford is convinced that joining the IMAGE program is a good idea. Immigrant advocacy groups have questioned the reliability of the system.
According to a report by the Bureau of National Affairs, E-Verify does have its disadvantages, including “the employer’s allocation of resources and training for inputting program data and subjects the employer to government inspections.” There is also the possibility that information shared through the program could be mishandled, or that an employer could make a mistake in using E-verify, according to the source.
The program does not apply to those who work for private businesses in the town, but Milford officials hope that other businesses will follow their example and adopt the program.