Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Mark Morgan said in an interview with Hill.TV that he hopes President Trump’s effort to remove as many undocumented immigrants as possible will send a message to Northern Triangle countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
“What’s going to be powerful is we’re going to send the message to the Northern Triangle countries that if you come here, eventually you will still be removed if you’re here illegally,” Morgan said on Wednesday.
“The hope is we’re going to disincentivize them from coming here and you’re going to see the numbers come down,” Morgan added.
Morgan argued that the move is “in the best interest of this country.”
He didn’t specify a timeframe for when the plan would be carried out, but told Hill.TV that he intends to begin it soon.
Morgan’s comments come after Trump on Monday tweeted that he would be deporting “millions” of immigrations without legal status next week.
The move has drawn criticism from Democrats, including Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who released a statement in both English and Spanish slamming the move.
“Let’s be clear: President Trump wants to rid our country of ethnic and racial groups he doesn’t like,” the statement read. “History has shown us what happens when governments begin mass roundups based on ethnic background or national origin.”
Trump’s campaign team later hit back, claiming that Democrats support “open borders.”
Migrant apprehensions, meanwhile, continue to surge at the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to Customs and Border Protection, an estimated 133,000 migrants were apprehended or surrendered to border patrol agents at the southern border in May.