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Since his release from prison in March, Joe has been in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, staying at the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania

By Dave Quinn
September 24, 2019 02:09 PM
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On Tuesday, lawyers for the Real Housewives of New Jersey star filed a petition requesting that he be allowed to move to Italy to await the court’s final decision in his ongoing deportation battle.

“Giving the hardship to Mr. Giudice and his family from his continued detention, the balance of irreparable harm has shift and [Joe] has asked that the stay be lifted so that he could be released from USICE custody and returned to Italy during the pendency of this case,” reads the request, obtained by PEOPLE.

It goes on to state that Joe is still hopeful his appeal will be granted, allowing him to stay in the United States. In the event that he does prevail in his case after he has been released to Italy, Joe requests that ICE facilitate his return home.

This comes days after a judge denied the 49-year-old father of four’s request to return to the New Jersey home he shares with wife Teresa Giudice, 47, and their daughters Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10.

“Joe is extremely disappointed,” James J. Leonard, the Giudice family attorney, told PEOPLE in a statement at the time. “He spent the last six months in a cage not able to hug or kiss his wife or daughters when they came to visit him. We treat animals in shelters better than we treat human beings in these ICE facilities.”

Back in October, an immigration court ruled to deport Joe to his native Italy after completing his 41-month sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. Even though he has lived in the United States since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.

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Joe Giudice
| Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo/Getty

Since Joe’s release from prison in March, he has been in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, staying at the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania.

He was allowed to continue living at the ICE facility in the U.S. as he awaits his fate back in May — a request his lawyers are now trying to lift.

Joe appealed the deportation decision more than once, but his requests were denied. A final appeal is still pending.

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Teresa and Joe Giudice
| Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty

Joe and Teresa were indicted in 2013 when they were accused of hiding their fortune in a bankruptcy filing. Joe was also accused of failing to file tax returns between 2004 and 2008.

Teresa was released from federal prison in 2015 after serving 11 months of a 15-month sentence for fraud. Joe began his sentence for the same crimes in March 2016.

While Teresa has stood by her husband’s side and told reporters that she’s hopeful he’ll get to stay in the U.S., she’s also been realistic about the fate of their marriage should he be deported.

“I’m not doing a long-distance relationship. I’m not doing it,” she said on the RHONJ season 9 reunion. “I want somebody with me every day.”

“I know exactly what happens — I’m sure he’ll be with other women. It happens,” she added. “You do the long-distance thing, it’s not going to work. I’d be like, ‘Bye bye.’”