Manuel worked in a factory for 22 years, but when it closed he had to re-enter the job market without an essential tool: a social security number.
Shortly after crossing the border illegally in the 1989, Manuel, not his real name, found work at InnerPac Inc. He described his job as "good, stable and with benefits." But when the company closed in February 2011 he was devastated.
"I lost everything," he said. "I couldn't even file for unemployment. I started looking for work right away but I couldn't find anything. I only found work at a restaurant where they paid me in cash."