by Caitlin Yilek
| May 02, 2019 02:20 PM

A top official at Customs and Border Protection said there is “absolutely” a crisis at the southern border.

“This influx has been climbing. It’s been climbing for a while,” acting Deputy Chief John Morris told MSNBC on Thursday.

Morris said a loophole in the law allows immigrants to come into the U.S. and claim “some type of immigration relief” and then they are released from detention after 20 days.

“Basically, they know they're going to get released. As long as people can come into the country illegally and then get released into the country without fear of deportation or extended stays in detention, they will keep coming,” he said.

On Wednesday, the White House requested an extra $4.5 billion from Congress in emergency funding to cope with the surge in migrants. The request was made a day after Border Patrol agents arrested 424 people who crossed illegally into New Mexico.

MSNBC reporter Gabe Gutierrez pressed Morris on whether the surge was “really a crisis.”

“Absolutely, this is a crisis,” Morris said. “While we have this policy crisis going on, there's also this border security crisis going on.”