No immigration agents descended on Overhill Farms, a major food-processing plant in Vernon. No one was arrested or deported. There were no frantic scenes of desperate workers fleeing la migra through the gritty streets of the industrial suburb southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

For more than 200 Overhill workers, however, the effect was devastating: All lost steady jobs last month and now find themselves in a precarious employment market, without severance pay or medical insurance.

It wasn't a hot tip or an undercover informant that helped seal their fates, but a computer check of Social Security numbers.

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