Document Type



Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal




The Trump administration has made its clarion call “build the wall.” From the start of the presidential campaign to the government shutdown to the declaration of a national emergency, he has made the wall the centerpiece of his immigration enforcement strategy. While the public attention has been riveted on these dramatic episodes at the southern border of the U.S., many more subtle challenges to legal migration have been introduced and implemented. Collectively, these constitute a second wall – one that is invisible to all but the few who have noticed it. This essay explores the distinctive challenges being posed to legal migration and the complexity of countering them through traditional means of resistance. Part I provides background on legal migration and the immigration bureaucracy. Part II explains the nature of the second wall policies. Part III turns to the nascent resistance efforts. The essay concludes with suggestions on how to restore the federal government’s mission of serving immigrants and proposes strategies for scaling the second wall.