With Nazi Germany's invasion imminent in Poland, a young boy and his family fled to Canada in March 1939 and received visas as Jewish refugees. That boy's son would eventually immigrate to the U.S. and become president of the Johns Hopkins University.
"I am exactly one generation away from the boy who clamored for entry into a new country," President Ronald J. Daniels wrote in an open letter to the university community Wednesday.
Daniels shared his own family's refugee story, adding his voice to the growing list of university presidents opposing the Trump administration's decision to ban citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States.
"This executive order takes our country down the ominous path of erecting barriers not on the basis of a demonstrated security threat but on the basis of religion," he wrote.
On Tuesday, University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace D. Loh weighed in, writing that the ban was "fundamentally antithetical" to the university's values.
Loh was born in China and raised in Peru. After completing high school in Peru, he immigrated to the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen.
President Donald J. Trump and White House aides have defended the ban as a national security measure. It has prompted growing criticism and widespread protests at airports around the country and abroad.
"The order stands in unambiguous opposition to our country's long-cherished values and ideals," Daniels wrote. "Openness, freedom of ideas, opportunity for the many, not the few. Values that lie, too, at the core of this country's great universities."