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A group of presidents and chancellors from 48 leading universities, including all eight Ivy League institutions, the University of Michigan, and seven University of California campuses, signed a letter to President Trump on Thursday calling him to “rectify or rescind” an executive order barring entry into the U.S. for 90 days or more for nationals of seven Muslim countries.

"If left in place," the letter states, "the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country."

The letter notes that the order “specifically prevents talented, law-abiding students and scholars from the affected regions from reaching our campuses” and states that the action “unfairly targets seven predominantly Muslim countries in a manner inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions.”

“Throughout its history America has been a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom in the world,” the letter states. “It has attracted talented people to our shores and inspired people around the globe. This executive order is dimming the lamp of liberty and staining the country’s reputation.”

Dozens of college presidents and higher education associations have issued statements expressing concerns about or criticizing Trump's executive order -- some in forceful terms -- since he signed it late last week. Trump has justified the order as intended to keep terrorists out of the country.