Certainly some freedom of movement is necessary for us to flourish—life would be pretty boring if we stood still all day—but this is a far cry from the freedom to move across borders that defenders of open borders envision. We may grant that individuals may sometimes gain the right to immigrate through societal breakdown, oppression, or natural disasters, but this is not the same as saying that there is a general human right to immigrate. Indeed, there can be no such thing because there is no basic human interest common to all humans that can only be met by migration across borders.

What’s more, a right to immigrate, if it existed, would be the right to demand both of individuals and countries that one be granted admission to their territory, regardless of whether that individual or country approves. This is tantamount to saying that individuals have the right to use and occupy someone else’s property against his will. Such a view would amount to the wholesale denial of property and sovereignty rights.

If individuals have an obligation to let others use and occupy their property, then in what sense do they really own their own property? The freedom to exclude others is essential both to property rights and sovereignty rights.