Joe Giudice has been serving his 41-month sentence for mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud since March 2016

By Joelle Goldstein and Dave Quinn
September 27, 2019 11:59 PM
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Joe Giudice is finding it difficult to stay positive amid his deportation case.

As the Real Housewives of New Jersey star, 49, awaits a decision on the ruling, a source close to the family tells PEOPLE that Joe is losing “hope” that he’ll ever return home to his wife Teresa Giudice and their four daughters.

The conditions he’s been living in under ICE’s custody have also taken an emotional toll on Joe, according to the family insider.

“These past few months in ICE [custody] have been harder for Joe than prison was. The conditions there are terrible,” the source says. “He’s so close to freedom, yet so far away. Not being able to see his family, and knowing that he won’t be able to be back home with them, has really broken him.”

“He’s fighting, but he’s really resigned to the fact that he’ll be deported,” the source continues. “And losing that hope has left him bitter, angry, and unhappy. He’s a shell of who he used to be.”

“Teresa and Joe have had their arguments in the past few months, but Teresa doesn’t want Joe to get deported,” adds the source. “She wants him to come home for their family. She loves Joe and it hurts her to see how he is being treated.”

Giudice Family
Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Joe has been away from the New Jersey home he shares with Teresa, 47, and their four kids — Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10 — since he began serving his 41-month sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.

He was released from prison this past March but is being held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania, awaiting a decision on his deportation ruling.

In October, an immigration court ruled to deport Joe to his native Italy after his prison sentence. (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.)

His requests to appeal the deportation ruling have thus far been denied. A final decision is pending.

Teresa and Joe Giudice
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Mount Airy Casino Resort

On Tuesday, Joe’s legal team filed a petition requesting that he be allowed to move to Italy as he awaits the court’s final decision. A request to await the results back in his New Jersey home was previously denied.

Just a day later, the trailer for season 10 of the Real Housewives of New Jersey dropped, featuring a rare — and tense — on-camera exchange between Teresa and Joe, who claimed that he never wanted to get married to her in the first place.

Their fight is sparked by the cheating rumors which swirled after photos surfaced of Teresa holding hands with a younger man. (An attorney for Teresa has insisted that the man is just a friend and denied any cheating or infidelity.)

In the trailer, Joe also seemed to think that his fate for the deportation case was sealed. “I’m getting deported and that’s all there is to it,” he said in the clip, which brought his daughter Gia to tears.

Teresa Giudice and her four daughters
Teresa Giudice/Instagram

Despite Gia’s sadness, Teresa recently revealed that she and her family were “hanging in there.”

“I am doing good,” she told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday. “My daughters are doing well. We’re hanging in there.”

“They are doing good, thank god,” Teresa continued, referencing her daughters. “They are pretty amazing, strong, young women. I guess they get it from their mommy… It’s a tough time right now, so just being with my daughters [helps].”