Why Is Joe Giudice Being Deported to Italy? 'I Consider Myself an American,' He Said

Even though Joe Giudice has lived in America since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship

Teresa And Joe Giudice Court Appearance
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty

Joe Giudice is being forced to return to Italy, but the reality star has always identified as an American.

On Wednesday, a judge ruled that Joe Giudice will be deported to his native country once his 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud comes to an end.

So why is he being deported?

Even though Giudice has lived in America since he was a child, he never obtained American citizenship, and immigrants can be deported from the United States if they are convicted of “a crime of moral turpitude” or an “aggravated felony,” according to U.S. law.

“I was a year old when I came here,” he explained on The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Teresa Checks In. “My parents are citizens. My brother and sister are citizens — they were born here. I just never thought to file for citizenship.”

According to current immigration laws, Giudice must have been over the age of 21 when his parents were granted citizenships. Had he been under the age of 21, he would have been granted citizenship with his parents automatically.

“I consider myself an American,” Joe said.

In fact, Giudice confessed he’s not familiar with Italian customs and said moving would be a bit of a culture shock.

“I don’t really know the laws there. I don’t know s— there. In order for me to go there it would be like an immigrant coming here and not knowing anything here,” he said. “Besides eating pasta and making the sauce, I don’t know anything in Italy.”

RELATED VIDEO: Teresa Giudice on the Impact of Her Husband’s Prison Sentence on Her Daughters

Giudice said he does still have relatives in Italy.

“I’d find something to do,” he said. “I have plenty of family there.”

A judge ruled on the deportation order in immigration court Wednesday morning. Teresa was not in court, and Joe has 30 days to appeal the decision.

The former Real Housewives of New Jersey star is currently serving out a 41-month prison sentence for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud that began in March 2016. He is set to be released in 2019.

During January’s RHONJ reunion, Giudice’s wife Teresa seemed optimistic when asked about the possibility that her 48-year-old husband would be sent back to Italy — and implied she’d move there with him.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

“I mean, Italy’s a beautiful place to live,” said Teresa, also 46. “I wouldn’t mind, you know, I’m just saying. Listen, whatever God has planned for me, that’s what’s going to happen. I will embrace it the best I can.”

The couple share daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9.

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