Joe Giudice is struggling to come to terms with an immigration courtâ€™s ruling on Wednesday to deport him to his native Italy after his prison sentence.
â€œJoe has changed a lot since heâ€™s been in prison,â€ a source reveals. â€œHeâ€™s a lot calmer, and I think the experience has really showed him how important his family is. This is breaking his heart.â€
Joe 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. His wife Teresa served a little over 11 months in prison herself for the same crimes and was released on December 23, 2015.
The couple share daughters Gia, 17, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 12, and Audriana, 9, and the source says Joe â€œloves those girls so much.”
â€œThey got especially close when Teresa was away,â€ the source tells PEOPLE. â€œHe didnâ€™t deserve a punishment like this. Heâ€™s been here his entire life! He speaks Italian, slightly, but itâ€™s not like he has a whole circle of people over there that heâ€™s bonded with. How is he going to do it?â€
Even though Joe has lived in America since he was a child, he never obtained citizenship, and immigrants can be deported from the United States if they are convicted of â€œa crime of moral turpitudeâ€ or an â€œaggravated felony,â€ according to U.S. law.
Joe has 30 days to appeal the courtâ€™s decision, though it remains unclear whether he will do so. When reached by PEOPLE, his immigration attorneys did not yet have comment. James J. Leonard Jr., the Giudice family attorney, also declined to comment on Wednesdayâ€™s news, as did Bravo.