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.