Of late, it has become fashionable for the mainstream media to portray any foreign national facing deportation as the victim of an unjust immigration system. That has never actually been true. But it is particularly misplaced in the case of Joe Giudice.
Joe is the husband of Teresa Giudice, who came to fame starring in The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Teresa has also written several best-selling cookbooks and appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice. The Giudices are part of that unique American phenomenon whereby otherwise unremarkable people become famous simply because Hollywood put them in the public eye and declared them to be celebrities.
Joe, an immigrant from Italy, and Teresa, the child of Italian immigrants, could have lived the American dream. But their overly extravagant lifestyle led to financial problems and they declared bankruptcy. Scrutiny of their bankruptcy filings led to charges that the Giudices lied to the Bankruptcy Court, the IRS and numerous financial institutions.
The couple was indicted for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, bank fraud, making false statements on loan applications and bankruptcy fraud. Joe was also charged with failure to file tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2008, a period during which time he allegedly earned nearly $1 million.
Both of the Giudices were convicted and sentenced to time in federal prison. Teresa completed her stretch and was released. Joe is nearing release. However, Joe, who is not a citizen has been ordered deported to his native Italy. Although details have not been reported in the press, his convictions are likely both “crimes involving moral turpitude” and “aggravated felonies” – which means Mr. Giudice would not be eligible for any type of relief from removal.
Almost immediately, mainstream news outlets like CNN, CBS News and Newsday began running pieces decrying Giudice’s deportation as “unfair” because “the United States is the only country he knows.” And Bravo producer Andy Cohen lamented to Us Weekly, ““It seems so extreme to deport him. …why not sentence him to community service or to something else he could do to enrich the community instead of deporting him?”
Of course, Cohen completely missed the point. It’s Giudice that engaged in extreme behavior. He was welcomed to the United States and given an opportunity to succeed on his own merits. When he could have enriched the community that allowed him, and his wife, to be entrepreneurial in ways totally impossible in his native Italy, he repaid his adopted homeland with cheating, deceit and theft. And – much to his own detriment – he chose not to declare permanent allegiance to his adopted homeland.
In the end, the United States has been nothing but fair and reasonable with the entire Giudice family. However, if Joe Giudice were permitted to avoid deportation merely because he is wealthy, Caucasian and famous, our immigration system would, indeed, be perpetrating a great injustice.