Texas Marine veteran calls ICE detention ordeal ‘a rollercoaster'

Julio Torres, who is a chaplain for the Rusk Police Department, was in an ICE detention center in Alvarado for six days

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A Texas Marine detained for nearly a week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials calls the ordeal a "roller coaster."

Julio Torres said he was detained at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport after he and his wife returned from a trip to Mexico late last week.

The best way to describe it is you're on a roller coaster and you're on the downhill of a roller coaster and it never ends.

Julio Torres, Marine veteran detained by ICE

Agents told Torres it was because of a decades-old drug charge for which he had already served time. They also said he did not request permission to re-enter the country using his Green Card.

"I go to the non-citizens custom line, and when I get there, the gentleman goes, 'Hey, you've been flagged. You got to go to secondary inspection,' Torres said. "When I go there, you know, they pull up my whole record … I'm there for several hours — I mean, several hours, six hours. You know, I contact my wife and I tell her, 'Hey, they're not letting me go.'"

For six days, Torres, who is a chaplain for the Rusk Police Department, was in an ICE detention center in Alvarado.

The Rusk County Sheriff's Office also sent immigration agents a letter of support calling for Torres' release.

"He says, 'Are you a veteran?' I said, 'Yes.' He says, 'Can you prove to me that you're a veteran?' And I said, 'Yes, I have all my documentation here because my wife sent it to me.' Less than five minutes after my wife emailed him my DD 214, I was released," Torres recalled.

Torres said he is grateful to the community, his family, and God for helping to bring him home, but questions remain.

"Everything that I worked so hard to get — because, like I said earlier, I was a homeless man — everything that I have now is by the grace of God and all the hard work, to be an honorable person, a person of integrity, a person of character — to just be stripped from you, not knowing if you'll ever see it. That was scary. That was very scary," an emotional Torres said.

NBC 5 made requests to both ICE and DFW Airport, asking about Torres’ detention. We are still waiting for a response.

"My ID was taken away. My passport was taken away. I was released with nothing," said Torres. "I believe that I'll probably get a phone call from them and see what it is. You know, it's a limbo."

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