A judge denied Joe Giudice's deportation appeal earlier this month

By Jodi Guglielmi and Emily Strohm
April 24, 2019 10:57 AM
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Teresa Giudice and her four daughters are doing everything in their power to bring Joe Giudice home.

Teresa’s eldest daughter Gia, 18, created a petition on Tuesday to stop her father Joe Giudice’s impending deportation.

Gia directed the petition, titled “STOP the Deportation of Joe Giudice,” to President Donald Trump.

“My father, Joe Giudice, came to the United States when he was an infant, one year after his birth, he has resided in New Jersey his entire life,” she wrote. “He is a businessman, a husband, father to four young women all under the age of 19, son, brother, uncle and friend to many. He was found guilty of NON Violent offenses and served his time complying with all prison guidelines and procedures.”

“He and my mother are willing to spend funds and additional time in an immigration prison for the chance he gets to hold his children again,” she continued.

Joe and Teresa Giudice with their four daughters
| Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

After writing about how Joe’s life will be upended if he is deported to Italy, Gia shared several pivotal life moments her father would be forced to miss.

“My father is there for us in every possible way a father could be. He has always been our handyman, our confidont [sic], our cheerleader, our challenger and most importantly our protector,” she wrote. “This would rob us of my father screaming from the stands at our graduations, meeting our future husbands for the first time, of walking us down the aisle, of being there when his grandchildren come into the world. Please use your voice, your power and your signature to help keep my family together.”

Gia concluded by asking Trump to intervene and pardon Joe.

“In Italy he will no longer be incarcerated but will he ever be free if kept from his family and be able to be a productive member of society?”

Along with Gia, Teresa and her other three daughters, Gabriella, 15, Milania, 14, and Audriana, 10, signed the petition. At the time of publication, it had already garnered over 25,700 signatures.

Teresa and Joe Giudice with daughter Gia
| Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

“The idea of starting a petition came from Gia. She wrote it, she created it and she launched it herself. It’s pretty amazing what she did and the response has been overwhelming in such a short period of time,” James J. Leonard Jr., the Giudice family attorney, tells PEOPLE. “I spoke to Joe about it over the phone and he was touched by the whole thing. He was definitely at a loss for words and got very emotional talking about it. He told me how proud he is of his four amazing daughters and how desperately he wants to come home to rejoin their lives. This entire process has been absolutely gut wrenching for this entire family. We are praying that it ends soon and Joe can come home where he belongs.”

Trump has yet to publicly respond to the petition.

On Wednesday, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star showed her support by sharing the petition on Twitter. She posted the link to her feed and commented with praying hands emojis.

Last week, it was revealed that Joe is one step closer to deportation because his appeal was denied.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Board of Immigration Appeals has denied Mr. Giudice’s appeal,” Leonard told PEOPLE in a statement. “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.”

The Board of Immigration Appeals’ April 6 decision leaves Joe’s future up in the air.

Over the weekend, Milania also made an appeal on social media to ask Trump to stop her father’s deportation.

“We will never stop fighting for you daddy. It’s not the same without you. I miss you terribly. I wouldn’t be the person I am today with out [sic] you. I wouldn’t know how to stay strong. I need you home daddy. All I want is to be a family again. I love you endlessy [sic] buddy💓💓,” she wrote, adding the hashtag “Free Joe Giudice” and tagging Trump in the message.

Even though Joe 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 and Teresa Giudice
| Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty

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 was released after he completed a 41-month prison sentence in March for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud.

Since he was released from prison in March, Giudice has been awaiting his fate at a facility in western Pennsylvania that houses immigration detainees.