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It was 7 a.m. on a recent Friday when Wang Gang, a 36-year-old Chinese immigrant, jostled for a day job in New York City’s Flushing neighborhood.

When a potential employer pulled up near the street corner, home to a Chinese bakery and pharmacy, Wang and dozens of other men swarmed around the car. They were hoping to be picked for work on a construction site, at a farm, as a mover — anything that would pay.

Wang had no luck, even as he waited for two more hours. It would be another day without a job since he crossed the southern U.S. border illegally in February, seeking better financial prospects than he had in his hometown of Wuhan, China.

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