BOSTON – Milford on Monday became the first town in New England to partner with federal immigration officials in a program aimed at preventing the hiring of illegal immigrants.

Under the voluntary program known as ICE, companies and municipalities are given education and training in proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and the use of employment screening tools such as E-Verify. Certified employers also undergo an audit to ensure current employees are authorized to work in the United States.

“The newly formed partnership with ICE and the Town of Milford underscores this town’s commitment to protecting the integrity of their workforce and to foster best hiring practices,” Bruce Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, said in a news release.

Illegal immigration became a hot-button issue in Milford after several fatal car crashes involving illegal immigrants, including one in August 2011, when an allegedly drunken Ecuadoran immigrant struck and killed a 23-year-old motorcyclist. Nicolas Guaman was charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence and several other charges in the death of Matthew Denice.

The program will be used to verify that town employees are eligible to work in the United States.

Milford Selectman Bill Buckley said the town of about 28,000 has long been a magnet for immigrants, in part because of a large supply of affordable rental housing.