Gov. Doug Burgum is planning to deploy approximately 100 North Dakota National Guard members to Texas to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border in support of Operation Lone Star.
Today’s announcement comes in response to a request made by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a May 16 letter 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.
“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. “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 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.”
The planned deployment is expected to last approximately 30 days and take place this coming fall. North Dakota will continue to communicate with Texas to determine the most effective timeframe for deploying North Dakota’s resources to the area.
The 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. Funding to cover the cost of the deployment will be requested 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. The Jamestown-based 817th Engineer Company also will deploy to the southern border with approximately 125 soldiers 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.