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Wellman, a professor at Washington University at St. Louis, began the talk by providing context about the current status of immigration within the United States.

In an explanation of both sides of the argument, he acknowledged both fears that low-skilled workers would be displaced by immigrants but also hopes that they will positively affect the economy.

Differing levels of border security along both the Canadian and Mexican borders are another topic of interest, he said.

The conversation then progressed to concerns about the recent refugee crisis in Europe.

“The current refugee crisis is horrific, and it is important to have an open forum on a serious humanitarian crisis,” he said.

Wellman introduced the argument that states are not required to have open borders, saying they have the right to evaluate the situation and to self-determination, as well as the freedom of non-association.

Regardless, he said those countries with the necessary resources to help should do so.

“Wealthy nations have the disjunctive duty to help their less fortunate counterparts by opening their borders or to help those in absolute poverty domestically,” he said.

Ian Cruise, a graduate student in the Department of Philosophy who attended the lecture, said he affirms this obligation of well-resourced nations.

“People don’t have the right to exclude outsiders,” he said.

But discussion of open borders did not go as far as it could have for Ludovica Atticciati, a junior foreign exchange student.

“I am a strong supporter of keeping borders opened, and I feel he didn’t talk too much about this piece,” she said.

In terms of recent arguments about terrorism resulting from immigration, Wellman said, oftentimes, it is not the immigrants but rather the short-term residents that pose a threat. Immigrants, he said, are looking to settle and assimilate.

Given the overall complexities of the migration and its implications, he said there should be a more open dialogue about the topic — which he said he sees to in a class he teaches in St. Louis.

“My goal in the class is not for students to have one stark view of the crisis but to present arguments that support close borders and open orders,” Wellman said. “I want students to think critically about important issues.”

Russ Shafer-Landau, the director of the Parr Center for Ethics, said he recognizes the refugee crisis is an issue with no simple solution.

“The reason the Parr Center had this talk was to bring someone who could incite nonpartisan discussion on this issue.”

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