President Donald Trump says construction on border wall will begin within months

President Donald Trump says he expects construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to begin within months.

The president made the announcement during a speech at the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday after he signed two executive orders he says will boost border security and crack down on immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

U.S. taxpayers are expected to pay for the upfront costs of the wall, though Trump continues to insist that Mexico will somehow reimburse the United States. 

Trump told ABC News, "There will be a payment," but it may be in a "complicated form." 

Trump says his administration will be working in partnership in Mexico to improve safety and economic opportunity for both countries and will have "close coordination" with Mexico to address drug smuggling.

Trump says, "We're going to save lives on both sides of the border."

The president signed the two orders after honoring Homeland Security's newly confirmed secretary, retired Gen. John Kelly.

The executive orders jumpstart construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, one of his signature campaign promises, and strip funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which don't arrest or detain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto says that he regrets and rejects the decision to build the border wall.

President Nieto had plans to visit Washington next week, but there are reports that he may cancel the trip.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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