NEW YORK —A New York based, family-run business with its 13 subsidiaries, a total of 14 entities, has partnered with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York Tuesday by joining the agency’s employment compliance program IMAGE, or “ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.”

McAllister Towing & Transportation Company, Inc. (McAllister Towing) and its 13 subsidiaries operate a fleet of tugs, barges and ferries in all major East Coast ports of the United States, including but not limited to New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Charleston, Port Everglades and San Juan. McAllister Towing was founded by Captain James McAllister in 1864 and is headquartered in New York, NY. McAllister Towing is currently operated by the founder’s great-grandson, Brian B.A. McAllister, who is the company president.

McAllister also owns and operates the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company, established in 1883, that presently runs three passenger-car ferries, the Grand Republic, Park City, and P.T. Barnum, each capable of carrying 1,000 passengers and 100 automobiles, between Bridgeport CT, and Port Jefferson NY. McAllister Towing is one of the oldest and largest family-owned marine towing and transportation companies in the United States and five members of the fifth-generation of McAllisters are involved in the company.

“We are proud to partner with McAllister Towing, a 5thgeneration family business, through the IMAGE program,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “This is a company whose business intersects ports of entry, making workforce compliance that much more important. McAllister has chosen to take an important step forward to work with HSI, adding to their already established compliance efforts.”

“In order to make sure we provide our customers with unsurpassed service, we do everything we can to recruit the best people with stringent hiring procedures that include background checks, prior employment verifications and drug testing. We then support our workforce with professional development, affirmative action and upward mobility. Working side by side with the IMAGE program, McAllister Towing looks forward to strengthening these procedures,” stated McAllister Towing President, Brian B.A. McAllister.

To qualify for IMAGE certification, partners agree to 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; and undergo a Form I-9 audit by ICE.

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.

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 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 visit www.ICE.gov/image.