2 Arizona companies join IMAGE program

MESA, Ariz. — Two cutting-edge Arizona technology companies have become the newest employers to join a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) program designed to strengthen hiring practices and reduce unauthorized employment.

Special Devices, Inc. (SDI) and the Daicel Corporation recently signed agreements to participate in IMAGE (ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers), a voluntary program in which ICE partners with businesses to reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents. Representatives for the two firms took part in a ceremony Wednesday in Mesa to formally mark their entry into the program.

Special Devices, Inc. (SDI) has been in business since the 1950s making precision pyrotechnic products. The company boasts a workforce of some 400 employees and contractors. SDI is owned by Japanese chemical manufacturer Daicel Corporation and maintains its U.S. headquarters in California, with manufacturing facilities in Mesa and Thailand. SDI’s primary product is automotive air bag initiators – the small explosive devices that trigger air bag deployment during a vehicle crash. SDI also produces many other high-tech, micro-explosive devices used in the aeronautical, mining, and medical industries.

Last year, Daicel Corporation added Daicel Safety Systems America Arizona (DSSA AZ) to its corporate portfolio. DSSA AZ, with nearly 200 employees, is located next to SDI in Mesa. The company designs and manufactures air bag inflators, which continue the process of air bag inflation after a collision. All U.S. facilities for both SDI and DSSA AZ have obtained ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers (IMAGE) certification.

As the 37th and 38th Arizona businesses to sign up for IMAGE, SDI and DSSA AZ have agreed to partner with ICE and perform the actions required to obtain IMAGE certification. Those include: conducting a self-assessment of hiring practices to uncover vulnerabilities that could be exploited by unauthorized workers; enrolling in E-verify, an employment eligibility verification program; training staff on IMAGE Best Employment Practices and the use of new screening tools; and undergoing a Form I-9 audit by ICE.

“We have a long established culture of compliance not only with our safety and quality programs, but also of partnering with our regulatory agencies,” said SDI’s Chief Operating Officer Nick Bruge. “Our participation in the IMAGE Program is a natural extension of that and we’re very pleased to receive the IMAGE certification for both facilities.”

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.

“By taking the initiative to become IMAGE certified, DCI is setting an example for all other product safety companies in the state and around the country” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “This partnership with ICE underscores the company’s commitment to protecting the integrity of its workforce. When employers strive to maintain a lawful workforce, it’s good for their business, which is good for the community and the nation.”

Undocumented workers create vulnerabilities in today’s marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits, and stealing identities of legal United States workers. To combat this, ICE initiated the IMAGE program in 2006.

Upon enrollment in and commitment to the IMAGE Best Employment Practices, program participants are deemed “IMAGE certified,” a distinction DHS and ICE believe will become an industry standard. IMAGE also provides free training to all employers on the provisions surrounding the Form I-9, fraudulent document detection, and building a solid immigration compliance model.

Companies interested in more information on the IMAGE program can call HSI Phoenix at 602-407-6155 or visit www.ICE.gov/image.