More than 50 day laborers stood, bored, anxious and mostly silent, in the sun-blasted parking lot of a Home Depot here last week, tracking the ebb and flow of customers and hoping for work. The hours crawled by. Six, maybe seven men scored jobs. The rest just waited.

This bleak scene is playing out at scores of day laborer sites across the region. Here on Long Island; under the elevated No. 7 line on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens; at the intersection of Port Richmond Avenue and Castleton Avenue on Staten Island; along Bay Parkway in Brooklyn; near highway on-ramps in Westchester County; and into New Jersey and Connecticut, clusters of day laborers, their numbers swelled by people laid off from full-time jobs, wait for work that, more often than not, never comes.
American workers