Monday, July 15, 2019

Call For Papers--AALS 2020, Scaling the Invisible Wall: Restrictions on Legal Migration

“Scaling the Invisible Wall: Restrictions on Legal Migration”
Association of American Law Schools · Section on Immigration Law
January 5, 2020, 3:30-5:15PM · Washington, DC
(Submission Deadline: August 15, 2019)

The Section on Immigration Law of the Association of American Law Schools invites papers for presentation at a session during the 2020 AALS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, which will take place January 2-5, 2020. This session has been scheduled for January 5, 2020 from 3:30-5:15PM. Please note that individuals presenting at the program are responsible for their own Annual Meeting registration fee and travel expenses.

The session theme is “Scaling the Invisible Wall: Restrictions on Legal Migration.”

This session will examine the “invisible wall,” a term that refers to non-statutory hurdles faced by legal immigrants. Executive branch actions at times meter access to legal immigration opportunities despite statutory opportunities. Changes in agency policy, changes in agency mood, or other phenomena can narrow the availability of legal opportunities for immigration. Examples of the invisible wall include preventing asylum seekers from accessing the border, increased denial rates of applications for legal status, and slower processing times of applications for legal status. The invisible wall implicates separation of powers principles because it questions the boundaries of executive branch enforcement. The invisible wall also challenges notions of transparency in administrative law to the extent that the invisible wall reflects changes in agency mood rather than written agency policy. It raises questions about how attorneys should respond to the challenges of the invisible wall. The invisible wall also highlights the need to explore the principles that should influence the design and governance of a legal immigration system.

Submission Guidelines: The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2019. We welcome submissions at any stage of development, although preference may be given to more fully developed papers over abstracts and paper proposals. Priority also will be given to individuals who have not recently presented a paper at the AALS Annual Meeting. Decisions will be made by mid-September 2019.

Please email submissions in Microsoft Word format to with the subject “AALS Submission- Scaling the Invisible Wall.” In your email, please indicate whether you have previously presented your work at a AALS Annual Meeting, and if so when.

Inquiries: Please direct any questions or inquiries to Jill Family ( and Jennifer Chacón (

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