BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum plans to deploy about 100 North Dakota National Guard members to Texas to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border in support of Operation Lone Star, his spokesman announced Thursday, June 1.
The announcement is in response to a May 16 letter from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asking states to help “combat illegal activity at the border and ensure the safety and security of all Americans.”
“The threat to national security grows every day that the Biden administration abdicates the responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders — failing to enforce existing immigration laws and failing to dedicate the resources needed to stop the tide of illegal immigration and drug trafficking that endangers lives in communities across our country,” Burgum said in a statement. “If the White House won’t address this crisis, governors will, and we commend Gov. Abbott for taking the lead in the absence of federal action.”
The planned deployment is anticipated to last about a month and take place this fall.
The North Dakota National Guard will be deployed under the governor’s emergency authority based on the risk to public safety due to drug trafficking and human trafficking, including deadly fentanyl making its way across the southern border and into U.S. communities, according to Burgum’s office. Funding to cover the cost of the deployment will be requested through the North Dakota Emergency Commission.
This is not the first time in recent years North Dakotans have been sent to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The North Dakota National Guard has already deployed two units to the southern border in the past two years, and these additional military and law enforcement resources announced today will further strengthen efforts to secure the border and keep Americans safe,” Burgum said.
Currently, about 125 members from the North Dakota National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment are helping secure the southern border. The Jamestown-based 817th Engineer Company also will deploy to the southern border with roughly 125 soldiers in October for about a year.
In April 2022, Burgum signed a memorandum of understanding with 25 other governors to create the American Governors’ Border Strike Force in an effort to “address the humanitarian crisis at the southern border and the negative impacts of increased illegal immigration on public safety and crime in states including North Dakota,” the governor’s office said.