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North Dakota governor to visit National Guard troops at US-Mexico border

Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, announced Wednesday that he plans to visit 125 North Dakota National Guard troops at the border in Texas next week.

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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, right, speaks at a bill signing on April 26, 2021, in the state Capitol. Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, left, looks on. Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service

BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum will travel to Texas next week to meet with North Dakota National Guard troops at the U.S.-Mexico border, his office said Wednesday, Dec. 8.

While in Texas, the second-term Republican governor plans to receive briefings from officials with the North Dakota National Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

North Dakota sent 125 National Guard soldiers from the 957th Engineer Company to the border following a send-off ceremony in October to assist in the response to immigration surges that escalated over the course of this summer.

The division's deployment came at the request of the U.S. Army to assist the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The dispatch is expected to last for around one year.

“We’re grateful for the brave men and women of the North Dakota National Guard for their readiness and service to protect our great state and nation, and we look forward to visiting them next week as they support efforts to end this humanitarian crisis and secure the southern border,” Burgum said in a statement.

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An initial announcement about the North Dakota divisions' deployment this July came on the heels of decisions by several other Republican governors, including Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, to send troops to the border in answer to emergency requests for increased security by the governors of Arizona and Texas.

The North Dakota troops were deployed at the request of the federal government, not at the invitation of leaders in other states.

Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki declined to provide specifics on the timing, locations or itinerary of the governor's trip, citing security reasons. He said there are no plans at this time for Burgum to appear with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott or for members of the North Dakota Congressional delegation to join the trip.

The North Dakota governor is not the first state leader in the region to travel to the U.S.-Mexico border this year. Noem paid a visit to the border city of McAllen, Texas , in July, while Montana Republican Greg Gianforte appeared alongside Abbott in Mission, Texas, this October.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at awillis@forumcomm.com.

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