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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Farah stockman

The pseudo-citizen

Are permanent guest workers a compromise worth seeking?

In the epic debate over immigration reform, there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans ought to agree on: It’s not good to have 11 million undocumented people eking out a living in the underbelly of the economy.

Even Representative Steve King, of Iowa, who famously declared that the children of undocumented immigrants have “calves the size of cantaloupes” from hauling marijuana across the desert, has to acknowledge that — calves aside — we actually don’t know much about the undocumented. About 40 percent have overstayed their visas. But the rest slipped across the border, without filling out a single form. In an era of big data and exhaustive census records, we don’t even know their names.

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