"We have always maintained that Joe Giudice belongs in the United States with his family, not in Italy," the Real Housewives of New Jersey star's attorney James J. Leonard tells PEOPLE

By Emily Strohm and Robyn Merrett
April 29, 2020 07:13 PM
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Joe Giudice
Joe Giudice/Instagram

Joe Giudice's deportation appeal has been denied again, PEOPLE confirms.

Of the news, which was revealed on Wednesday, Joe's attorney James J. Leonard tells PEOPLE. "We have always maintained that Joe Giudice belongs in the United States with his family, not in Italy."

"The immigration laws in our country are both draconian and antiquated and need to be revisited by forward thinking members of Congress," Leonard says.

As for whether or not Joe, 47, will appeal the decision again, Leonard explains, "That will be discussed with Joe and his immigration counsel in the coming days."

Despite the news, Leonard reveals Joe is "very positive about life."

"He's in Italy doing everything he can to keep busy, and stay healthy. I know he's working on some projects that I'm sure you will hear about soon. For now, it's day at a time like everyone else."

Joe's second deportation appeal denial was captured on a season 10 episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey, during which Leonard said the "odds are against Joe" in overturning the ruling.

“I’m so drained. It seems like one bad thing after another. I feel like I’m just so numb. I feel like I can’t even believe this is happening," Teresa Giudice, who shares daughter Gia, 18, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10, with Joe, said on the episode filmed in April 2019.

“I want him to come home,” Teresa added. “We have four daughters together. I didn’t sign up to do this alone. … I’m scared.”

To help her process, Teresa met with Leonard, who explained Joe’s next steps.

“He’s in trouble,” Leonard told Teresa and her brother Joe Gorga, who was also by her side. “His immigration lawyers made the arguments to the lower courts and the courts have denied it very aggressively. They blew up every single argument. The next step is another appeal to the third circuit and saying, ‘Please, the lower courts have made mistakes.’”

RELATED: RHONJ- Teresa Giudice Says She Spent Over $1 Million Paying Joe's Legal Fees and Back Taxes

“It could take months,” Leonard said. “We have to start the whole process all over again. But the problem is, this is his last chance. And you’re not bringing forward new information, so I think the odds are against Joe at this stage.”

“Immigration is the hottest topic on the planet, and I think Joe is caught in the crossfire of that,” he added.

Asked by Gorga what chance, in percentage, Joe had of coming home, Leonard said, “It’s not good.”

Of the April 2019 decision, Leonard told PEOPLE at the time: "We are extremely disappointed that the Board of Immigration Appeals has denied Mr.  Giudice's appeal."

Joe and Teresa Giudice with their daughters
Joe Giudice/Instagram

“We have filed a stay with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and will continue to fight to keep Mr. Giudice in the United States, the only country he knows, and reunite him with his wife and four daughters.”

Joe’s immigration case stems back to October 2018, when a ruling was made that Joe would have to leave the country after he finished serving out his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud.

The Giudice father was born in Italy and lived there for a year before his parents relocated to America. He never obtained American citizenship and per U.S. law, immigrants can be deported if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony.”

In March, Joe was released from prison, three years after first reporting. (Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison for the same crimes; she was released on Dec. 23, 2015.) He was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to wait out his appeal decisions.