Real Housewives of New Jersey's Joe Giudice Denies Reports He Is Being Deported to Italy
The former Real Housewives of New Jersey star is currently servicing a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud that began in March 2016.
James J. Leonard Jr., their family attorney, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive statement that no moves had been made to deport the reality star.
“I can state with absolute certainty that no decision has been made regarding the immigration status of Joe Giudice,” Leonard Jr. says. “The same immigration detainer that was lodged against him in March of 2016 remains in place today, but I want to be absolutely clear about this, no judicial authority has made any decision regarding what will happen with that detainer.”
“Mr. Giudice has immigration counsel who are and have been working aggressively on his behalf so that he can return home to his wife and four young daughters and we remain optimistic that that is how this will end.”
An ICE spokesperson did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
News of Giudice’s possible deportation comes after a report in which an ICE spokesperson said the father of four was “in deportation proceedings while he’s in custody. ICE has lodged a detainer, and he is in removal proceedings,” according to RadarOnline.
In January, Teresa, 46, remained optimistic in the event that her husband would be sent back to his native Italy during the RHONJ reunion.
RELATED VIDEO: Teresa Giudice on the Impact of Her Husband’s Prison Sentence on Her Daughters
“I mean, Italy’s a beautiful place to live,” Teresa told the show’s host, Andy Cohen. “I wouldn’t mind, you know, I’m just saying. Listen, whatever God has planned for me, that’s what’s going to happen. I will embrace it the best I can.”
Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison herself for the same crimes as her husband and was released on Dec. 23, 2015. The couple share daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9.
In May, a source told PEOPLE the two couldn’t wait to “be a family again.”
“These last few years have been tough on everybody,” the insider said, adding the two “can’t wait to be reunited.”