RHONJ's Joe Giudice's Request to Be Released from ICE Custody Denied as He Awaits Deportation
Joe Giudice had been staying at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainment center since March
A judge ruled that the 47-year-old father of four would not be allowed 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 tells PEOPLE in a statement. “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.”
The news comes days after Joe’s lawyer requested that he be released from ICE custody to spend time with his family before the court’s final determination in his deportation case is made.
Since Joe’s release from prison in March after completing a 41-month sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud, Joe has been in custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, staying at the Clinton County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania.
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.
Joe appealed the deportation decision more than once, but his appeals against the ruling were denied. A final appeal is still pending.
The court agreed in May to allow him to continue living at the ICE facility in the U.S. as he awaits his fate.
At bond hearing on Sept. 11, the request was made for Joe to be allowed back home.
Though Joe wasn’t physically in court, a source previously told PEOPLE he appeared via video conference. His wife Teresa was also present, as was his mother, sister, brother and two dozen other family members (the four Giudice kids were all in school).
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 wife Teresa has stood by her husband’s side, she has 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 Real Housewives of New Jersey 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.’”