On Wednesday, Mandy Manning, an English and math teacher from Spokane, Washington, was recognized at the White House for being named 2018 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Manning brought some reading material for President Trump — a stack of 45 letters from her immigrant and refugee students. The 19-year teaching veteran says that Trump accepted the letters graciously.
Manning teaches English at the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School, which serves students speaking 72 languages and aims to help immigrant and refugee students adjust to life in the United States. "A good education," the program's website states, "is the key to a successful life in America."
The letters Manning brought chronicle her students' experiences coming to the United States from countries such as Syria, Iraq, Uganda, Burma and El Salvador. Manning tells The Washington Post that her students "felt it was important for the president to understand the really rigorous and difficult process and length of time it takes to come to the United States as a refugee."
President Trump has previously made negative comments about immigrants and refugees, including a 2015 campaign speech in which he said that Mexican immigrants were "bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." In this speech he also said that the threats he associates with immigration were "coming from all over South and Latin America" as well as the Middle East.