Will 'Real Housewives' star Joe Giudice really get deported?

Yahoo Celebrity

Teresa Giudice has already been to prison, but the Real Housewives of New Jersey star might soon be facing another major challenge: her husband’s deportation.

A source confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment that Giuseppe “Joe” Giudice — who is over two years into his prison sentence for mail, wire, and bankruptcy fraud — is “in deportation proceedings in immigration court.” As for when Joe, 46, would be sent back to Italy, the insider could not say if proceedings will be final prior to the conclusion of his prison term. He is scheduled for release in March 2019.

Joe and Teresa Giudice at a&nbsp; <em>Real Housewives of New Jersey</em>&nbsp;premiere party, July 2014. (Photo: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
Joe and Teresa Giudice at a  Real Housewives of New Jersey premiere party, July 2014. (Photo: Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

However, the Giudice family attorney, James J. Leonard Jr., tells us that no decision has been made regarding Joe’s immigration status.

“The immigration detainer referenced is more than two years old and no judicial authority has ruled on this matter. Mr. Giudice and his family remain optimistic that when that day does come, that the court will rule in his favor and allow him to return home,” Leonard says.

Leonard reaffirms this to People, saying Giudice isn’t going anywhere — for now, at least.  “I can state with absolute certainty that no decision has been made regarding the immigration status of Joe Giudice,” he says. “The same immigration detainer that was lodged against him in March of 2016 remains in place today, but I want to be absolutely clear about this, no judicial authority has made any decision regarding what will happen with that detainer.”

“Mr. Giudice has immigration counsel who are and have been working aggressively on his behalf so that he can return home to his wife and four young daughters and we remain optimistic that that is how this will end.”

Although Joe has been living in the states since age 1, he never went through the process to officially acquire his citizenship.” (His parents and siblings all did.)

“I’m not even worried about that as far as that goes,” Joe told People in 2016. “That, we’ll worry about when I get out.”

Teresa, 46, served 11 months in prison for fraud and was released in December 2015. However, she is an American citizen. So what, if any, legal impact will this have on her or their four daughters: Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9?

“Unlike what most people think, a foreign-national does not automatically get a green card or full protection from deportation just because they have a U.S. citizen spouse or child,” immigration attorney Navid Dayzad told Yahoo Entertainment. “Being famous is not a magic wand — in fact, criminal immigrants don’t receive much sympathy with the public, and the government has incentive to make an example of these public figures. Under U.S. immigration laws, it’s considered a privilege for non-U.S. citizens to be able to live in the United States. If you are convicted of certain crimes, the government revokes that privilege and deports you.”

While Teresa’s citizenship is not in jeopardy, this ordeal will likely take a big emotional toll on her and her family.

Dayzad, who provides expert immigration services for families, continues, “Teresa will see firsthand how grueling deportation proceedings can be on a family. With the overloaded court system, the court proceedings may take years, leaving their lives in limbo. Joe will have to present a very well-crafted case to convince the immigration judge that Joe’s special circumstances should spare him from being deported.”

Immigration lawyer Ashkan Emami of the Path Law Group agrees that Joe’s crime will make this a difficult case.

“When dealing with minor criminal offenses, U.S. immigration laws can be lenient when the offender’s spouse is a U.S. citizen and even more so when U.S. citizen children are involved. However, Joe Giudice has been convicted of fraud, which is a deportable offense and can only be overcome by a waiver,” Emami told Yahoo Entertainment. “Since he has been convicted on several counts of fraud, it seems unlikely that a waiver will be granted. What this means for Teresa and her four daughters is that they will be separated from Joe unless they choose to follow him back to Italy, his country of citizenship.”

In January, Teresa said she “wouldn’t mind” moving abroad with Joe in a worst-case scenario situation. “Italy’s a beautiful place to live,” she told Andy Cohen at the RHONJ reunion. “I wouldn’t mind, you know, I’m just saying.”

She added, “Listen, whatever God has planned for me, that’s what’s going to happen. I will embrace it the best I can.”

The reality star may want to refrain from making comments like that. “Understandably, Teresa is being strong and taking in stride the possibility of her husband’s deportation. She says that living in Italy is not so bad. Unfortunately, statements that it would not be a hardship to uproot her family undermines her husband’s immigration case,” Dayzad says.

Rumors of marital strife have plagued the couple for years — their marriage has endured nearly two decades — but they have always brushed off split reports.

“It’s extremely sad that there are actually people out there and semi-reputable media outlets who seem to take pleasure in perpetuating horrible rumors and fake news stories about this family,” Leonard told People in January. “Haven’t they been through enough? Haven’t the children suffered enough? People need to let this family live their lives. Enough is enough. No one is cheating, no one is getting divorced. The truth is they can’t wait to be together again.”

“These last few years have been very challenging and very difficult,” the attorney added. “Both Joe and Teresa have each lost a parent, have both experienced incarceration and have both been without one another for long periods of time. I can tell you from having deeply personal conversations with both of them, what they want more than anything is to be together with one another and their children and move forward to brighter days as a family.”

But divorce chatter started up again after Teresa failed to acknowledge Joe on social media on Father’s Day. (Neither did Gia.)

Teresa, who recently competed in a bikini bodybuilding competition, has yet to address the latest news on social media.

[Editor’s note: This post was originally published June 21, 2018 at 8:04 p.m. ET.]

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