President Donald Trump signed two executive orders today on immigration, proclaiming the measures will "save thousands of lives, millions of jobs and billions and billions of dollars."
"Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders," Trump said in remarks at the Department of Homeland Security.
The orders will increase the number of border patrol enforcement officers and lay the groundwork for building a wall on the border with Mexico.
According to Trump, the moves will be beneficial to both the U.S. and Mexico.
"We are going to save lives on both sides of the border, and we also understand that a strong and healthy economy in Mexico is very good for the United States," he said.
"I truly believe we can enhance the relations between our two nations," he added.
The orders will bring an end to the current catch-and-release policy, forcing other nations to take back their citizens.
"The day is over when they can stay in our country and wreak havoc," Trump said, referring to undocumented immigrants.
According to Trump, an office dedicated to helping U.S. citizens who have been victims of crimes by undocumented immigrants will be created. Also, federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities will be cut off.
"We hear you. We see you. You will never ever be ignore again," Trump said to those who have been victimized.
At the beginning of his speech, Trump stressed that his administration will be focused on implementing the laws that are already in place rather than issue new ones.
"People are surprised to hear that we do not need new laws. We will work within the existing system and framework," he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement assailing the new orders as well as the existing laws that Trump said he plans to "reinforce."
"President Trump's fantasy of sealing the border with a wall is driven by racial and ethnic bias that disgraces America's proud tradition of protecting vulnerable migrants," said Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.
"The DHS deportation force has a track record of racial profiling and excessive force abuses, and expanding it will further erode the rights of millions of people who call our safe border communities home. Locking up asylum seekers who pose no danger or flight risk is unconstitutional and benefits nobody except private prison corporations and politicians looking to score rhetorical points. We will see the Trump administration in court if they go down that road," Jadwat said in the statement.