Immigration advocacy groups react to the President Trump's primetime address

President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House as he walks to Marine One, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Washington. Trump is en route to Camp David. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On Tuesday night, immigration advocacy groups were among those paying close attention to President Donald Trump’s primetime address.

Abel Nunez is the Executive Director of CARECEN Central American Resource Center, a DC-based nonprofit that works to empower immigrants in the DMV and advocate for human rights.

After listening to the president’s speech, Nunez said he does agree with the commander-in-chief that there is a humanitarian crisis happening at the border.

But he doesn’t agree that a border wall is the answer.

“I would say I agree with him that there is a humanitarian crisis, but this is not a security crisis. When you look at the numbers, we’re at historic lows of people trying to enter this nation,” said Nunez. “But I think the most important thing is that we need to ask why are people coming? And where are they coming from? The reality is that 95 percent of families at the border are coming from three nations: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.”

Nunez said he feels leaders in the United States must work with leaders in those countries in order for real change to take place.

“This is not an issue that’s solved by the wall. This is an issue solved by the governments of the region coming together. The United States, the countries of origin, the countries of transit, all coming together to figure out what are the best solutions,” he said. “Because even if a wall is built, those people will continue to come, and those issues will still happen at the border.”

The DC-based Center For Immigration Studies, which supports lower levels of immigration, also shared reaction to the President’s speech.

CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian tweeted “A pretty good speech, and smart that the wall was the final item he listed, after plugging legal loopholes, more technology, and more manpower. In other words, border security isn’t just about the wall – but it is an important part.”

Meanwhile, as the president spoke, protesters gathered outside the White House. They called for an end to the government shutdown and said they hoped to draw attention away from Trump's oval office address.

One protester told ABC 7 the group has been outside the White House every single night since the government shutdown began 18 days ago.

This story has been updated Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019

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