Wyoming’s senior U.S. Senator John Barrasso at the U.S. Mexico border Friday (Barrasso Wyo, YouTube)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming’s United States Sen. John Barrasso said in a speech on the floor of the Senate on Monday that he recently returned home to Wyoming and found that U.S.-Mexico border security is at the top of the minds of residents in the state.

“That’s what I hear about in Wyoming,” Barrasso said. “I’ve just been home for two weeks talking to people and this is the number one topic that I heard about traveling the state of Wyoming.”

Barrasso recently traveled to the border along with 18 other senators. The U.S. saw a record number of unaccompanied children attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in March, according to the Associated Press. Nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border were picked up by U.S. government agents in March.

With the U.S. Border Patrol also reporting 170,000 encounters with migrants at the border in March, the largest number since March 2001, President Joe Biden’s administration has “struck an agreement with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to temporarily surge security forces to their borders in an effort to reduce the tide of migration to the U.S. border,” the AP reported on Monday.

Barrasso said that the situation at the border is “a double crisis.”

“It’s a national security crisis as well as a humanitarian crisis,” he said.

Barrasso said that some Border Patrol agents the senators spoke with during their trip said that their job became more difficult when Biden became president.

“President Biden flipped over the sign and sent the clear message around the world, it said: the United States border is now wide open,” Barrasso said. “Because of that clear message, Border Patrol arrests and detentions have doubled since January.”

Barrasso said that with the record number of children being picked up attempting to cross the border, “two-thirds of Border Patrol agents can’t do their regular jobs because they are too busy babysitting these children, or escorting adults to the areas where they will turn themselves in.”

“At a time of a global pandemic, I will tell you as I was there with the senators at a location designed for 250 immigrants during coronavirus, there were 7,000 crammed in like sardines, with foil blankets to huddle under,” he said. “No social distancing, none at all.”

“Under the law, children can only be in Border Patrol custody for 72 hours. We wouldn’t want our own children there for 72 minutes. Yet there are thousands in custody for over ten days.”

Barrasso said the senators also witnessed COVID-19 testing of young people at the border.

“We watched the testing in the court yard where I was,” he said. “They were all together and then they tested some, and if you test negative you go that way, and if you test positive, you go that way. But absolutely every one of them was exposed to each other. So that fact that 10 percent were testing positive it’s highly likely that the remainder will test positive as well.”

“What is the Biden administration doing about that? They’re sending those young people, those just exposed to coronavirus, sending them all across the country.”

Barrasso said that Border agents have been detaining people from a variety of countries, including two from Yemen who have been arrested in recent months who are on the “Terrorist Watch List.”

“Border Patrol says they’re apprehending people not just from Central America or Mexico, they have apprehended people from 56 different countries there at the border since President Biden has taken the oath of office,” Barrasso said. “Last week, Border Patrol agents outside San Diego arrested a member of MS-13, one of the most vicious criminal gangs in the world.”

Barrasso urged Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to visit the border to witness the situation first-hand.

He added that Border Patrol agents he spoke with said the U.S. should finish building a wall along the border and re-instate the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

“Until we do those two things, the jobs of the Border Patrol agents are going to get tougher and tougher,” Barrasso said.