This seminar will cover one of the most contentious issues of this election year: immigration. From classical liberal to progressive perspectives, this nonpartisan event will bring scholars and students together to explore the idea of open borders, offering new insights and inspiration for tackling this important issue.

Tackle provocative questions like:

  • Is there a right to immigrate?
  • What can we do to address problems related to immigration?
  • What’s the historical relationship between states, nations, citizenship, and immigration?

Register now to join top professors and public intellectuals as they present economic, historical, philosophical, and legal cases for the freedom of mobility.

Travel Update: Public transportation is currently limited in Philadelphia due to the SEPTA strike, so please plan accordingly. The seminar will still go forward as scheduled as there are plenty of other travel alternatives available, including: Regional Rail (all lines stop at 30th Street Station); Uber, Lyft, and city cabs; and Philadelphia’s bikeshare program. There is some parking available around the event venue for those who can drive, and carpooling to or from the event with fellow attendees is also an option.

This program is a collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Effective Altruists and the Free Migration Project.
It is made possible through the support of the John Templeton Foundation.


Saturday, November 5, 2016
9:00 am
Registration & Breakfast
9:30 am
Opening Remarks
9:45 am
Is There a Right to Immigrate?
Peter Jaworski, Georgetown University
11:00 am
The Best Argument Against Immigration is Still Wrong: An Analysis of Economic Institutions
Alex Nowrasteh, Cato Institute
12:15 pm
1:15 pm
States Without Nations: Abolishing Birthright Citizenship
Jacqueline Stevens, Northwestern University
2:30 pm
The U.S. Legal Process: Rights of Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants
Niloufar Khonsari, Pangea Legal Services
3:45 pm
Workshop: What Can We Do Next?
Discussion Groups
4:15 pm
Speakers Panel
5:00 pm
Closing Remarks
Alexander Funcke, University of Pennsylvania
5:15 pm


Prof. Peter Jaworski

Peter Jaworski is an Assistant Teaching Professor teaching business ethics at Georgetown University. He is a Senior Fellow with the Canadian Constitution Foundation, and a Director of the Institute for Liberal Studies. Along with Dr. Jason Brennan, Dr. Jaworski is the author of Markets without Limits: Moral Virtues and Commercial Interests published in 2015.

Check out some of Peter Jaworski’s videos and blog articles on!

Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh is the immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity. His popular publications have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and elsewhere.

Alex has appeared on Fox News, Bloomberg, and numerous television and radio stations across the United States. He is the coauthor, with the Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian, of the booklet Open Immigration: Yea and Nay (Encounter Broadsides, 2014).

Prof. Jacqueline Stevens

Professor Stevens conducts research on political theories and practices of membership since antiquity. Her current studies of deportation law enforcement engage European fantasies of conquest in the 12th to 17th centuries as well as the quotidian of government documents revealing contemporary illegalities, including practices resulting in the unlawful deportation of United States citizens from the United States. Her research on deportations has been the basis of successful lawsuits challenging government misconduct.

Professor Stevens’ work has appeared in Political Theory, The American Political Science Review, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Social Text, Third World Quarterly, and many other scholarly venues, as well as in The Nation magazine and The New York Times. Reports on her work on ICE and private prison misconduct have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, NPR, CNN, and numerous other venues.

Niloufar Khonsari

Niloufar Khonsari is the Executive Director of Pangea Legal Services. A refugee and immigrant to various countries herself, she is deeply committed to standing up for the rights of immigrants in the United States and worldwide.

Nilou was a Fulbright Fellow in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where she worked with Timap for Justice, a legal services organization dedicated to access to justice for the rural poor. As part of the fellowship, she taught a year-long Human Rights seminar for the law school clinic at Fourah Bay College and conducted policy research on labor and employment issues in Sierra Leone.

She received her undergraduate degree magna cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (’06) and her law degree from Georgetown Law School (’09), with certification in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from the Institute for the Study of International Migration.

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