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"Now Hiring" sign outside a Subway restaurant. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Reggie Kaji’s employment agency got a weird request last year: Could he find 200 migrant workers ready to catch a bus from Texas to Detroit, where they’d be put up in hotels while working at a factory that makes car doors for the big three automakers?

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Kaji, who had to tell the prospective client that he couldn’t guarantee to find people qualified to work that kind of machinery. “A low-wage employee, with little education, can run through a door and get a job.”

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