Gov. Doug Burgum today signed an executive order declaring an emergency and authorizing the North Dakota National Guard to help Texas secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
The executive order provides official authorization to deploy approximately 100 North Dakota National Guard members from the Wahpeton-based 188th Engineer Company in support of Operation Lone Star. The planned deployment was first announced by Burgum on June 1.
Burgum authorized the deployment in response to an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) request from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for National Guard and law enforcement to help secure the border. Abbott also sent a letter in May asking for states to send available resources to combat illegal activity at the border and ensure the safety and security of all Americans in the absence of action by the Biden administration to address the border crisis.
“It’s in the best interests of not only Texas but all states to prevent illegal entry at the U.S.-Mexico border and stop drug trafficking, human trafficking and other transnational criminal activity,” Burgum said. “Support from the North Dakota National Guard and other states that have committed resources to Operation Lone Star will strengthen border security and help keep Americans safe in every state, as every community is affected by border security.”
The executive order declaring a statewide emergency notes that North Dakota has a long history of assisting other states in their time of need and that there is a risk to public safety due to drug trafficking, including deadly fentanyl making its way across the southern border and into U.S. communities, and the increased risk of human trafficking.
The deployment is expected to last approximately 30 days and end in August. To cover the cost, the Office of the Adjutant General is requesting increased spending authority of $2.2 million through the North Dakota Emergency Commission.
Currently about 125 members from the North Dakota National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment are aiding efforts to secure the southern border. They followed 125 members of the 957th Engineer Company’s Multi-Role Bridge Company who returned in September 2022 after assisting U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the border for about a year as requested by the U.S. Army through the National Guard Bureau and with Burgum’s authorization. Separately from the deployment of the 188th Engineer Company authorized by Burgum, the Jamestown-based 817th Engineer Company will deploy to the southern border with approximately 125 soldiers in federal status in October for approximately one year.
In April 2022, Burgum signed a memorandum of understanding with 25 fellow governors to create the American Governors’ Border Strike Force to better 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. North Dakota law enforcement agencies participating in a joint detail in August 2022 as part of the Border Strike Force seized more than 50 pounds of illegal drugs, including enough fentanyl to potentially kill every North Dakotan more than twice over.