RHONJ's Joe Giudice Officially Moving to Italy as He Fights to Appeal Deportation
Giudice family attorney James J. Leonard confirms to PEOPLE that the Real Housewives of New Jersey star’s petition, which he filed in late September, has been approved.
Joe had already been denied his original request to be released to the New Jersey home he shares with wife Teresa Giudice and their four daughters: Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10.
His lawyers said in documents obtained by PEOPLE that Joe was hoping to get out so he could work to make money for his family.
They also stated 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 sent to Italy, Joe requests that ICE facilitate his return home.
According to E! News, which first reported the news of Joe’s request being granted, the father of four is expected to return to Italy in the coming weeks. Flight arrangements and a travel document are in the works.
Joe has been away since he began a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud in March 2016.
He was released from prison last March but is currently being held in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Clinton County Correctional Center in Pennsylvania, while he awaits 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, with a court date scheduled for November.
A source previously told PEOPLE that Joe is losing “hope” that he’ll ever return home to be reunited with his family.
“These past few months in ICE [custody] have been harder for Joe than prison was. The conditions there are terrible,” the source said. “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 continued. “And losing that hope has left him bitter, angry, and unhappy. He’s a shell of who he used to be.”
While Teresa has stood by her husband’s side thus far, she has also been realistic about the fate of their marriage should he be deported, admitting on the RHONJ season 9 reunion that she’s “not doing a long-distance relationship.”
But despite fights the two have had, Teresa is still hoping for the best for Joe.
“Teresa and Joe have had their arguments in the past few months, but Teresa doesn’t want Joe to get deported,” the source told PEOPLE. “She wants him to come home for their family. She loves Joe and it hurts her to see how he is being treated.”