have approved a partnership with a federal agency that will allow the town to screen employee information against a federal immigration database.
Considered a symbolic step by town officials, the program will allow the town to make sure all employees are eligible to work in the U.S. It is considered symbolic because the town administrator said he is confident all employees are legally authorized to work. But officials say they hope participation will encourage Milford businesses to join the program, as well.
"This would set an example for the rest of the businesses in the community, to go forward with this," said Town Administrator Louis Celozzi.
Selectmen unanimously voted to join the Immigration and Customs Enforcement "IMAGE" program Monday. The town is thought to be the first in Massachusetts to sign on to the program, which will allow the town to screen I-9 forms of current and future employees.
The program will provide training for a general government and a school system employee to screen the credentials.
"This allows Milford to take a leadership role," said Selectman Bill Buckley. "We understand better than most communities the effects ... of illegal immigration."
The I-9 form is required to be filled out and signed by any employee hired by Milford since November 1986, according to a letter from Milford Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin. The program allows the town to enter the employee's name, date of birth, social security number, alien number and other identifying information into the ICE and Social Security databases to verify the validity of the information, O'Loughlin wrote.
"If ICE has a photograph of the prospective employee, they will email it to the town so that verification can be made that this is the actual person who is providing the personal data that was entered into the system," O'Loughlin wrote.
The program will apply to all full- and part-time employees. It is not clear whether it would apply to employees of private businesses working for the town under contract. Celozzi said he would check into that and get back to selectmen.