United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed executive orders to speed up the process to build the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border – one of the main focusses during his campaign days. By Thursday, he is also expected to stop federal grants to “sanctuary cities” that take in immigrants, forcing their deportation, and pause the entry of Syrian refugees to the US for at least four months, AP reported.

“A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” Trump said at the Department of Homeland Security, where he chalked out plans on national security. “We are going to save lives on both sides of the border.”

The order on the flow of refugees to the country will include suspending issuing visas for citizens of predominantly Muslim countries for at least a month. The move will affect people from Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Iran and Sudan, according to a draft executive order obtained by AP.

Trump’s order border control refers to the the proposed 2,000-mile US-Mexico wall as “a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous and impassable physical barrier.” It includes hiring 5,000 more border patrol agents and 10,000 more immigration officers.

While the directions are subject to the approval of congressional funding, House Speaker Paul Ryan, in an interview on MSNBC, said the Congress will work with the president on the financing for the structure, expected to cost billions.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto reiterated his government’s stand that it will not pay for the wall, even as Trump said in an interview with ABC News that the country would “absolutely, 100%” reimburse the US for the border wall, BBC reported. “Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall,” Nieto said in a video posted on Twitter.

Supporters of immigration decried the newly-inducted president’s actions. Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project Omar Jadwat said Trump’s order to construct the border wall was “driven by racial and ethnic bias that disgraces America’s proud tradition of protecting vulnerable migrants”.