After being charged with multiple counts of fraud in 2014, Joe and Teresa were sentenced to 15 and 41 months respectively in federal prison; they were allowed to serve their time one after the other so their daughters — Gia, Gabriella, 14, Milania, 13, and Audriana, nine — would not be left without parents.
It later emerged that Joe, who was born in Italy and moved to the US as an infant, was in danger of being deported; he never applied to become a full citizen, remaining in the country on a green card after marrying Teresa.
"My mother and father have fought tirelessly to pay back every single penny of restitution to court deemed they owe," Gia wrote in her petition, which has already garnered more than 35,000 of the 50,000 signatures requested. "They have made a mistake but rectified it through serving time and by financially satisfying all that was owed."
She continues: "He knows nothing of Italian culture, laws, societal norms, he has no immediate family and will not be able to secure work in this foreign land."
"We request that our President, Donald J Trump review our petition and pardon my father to relieve him of this life sentence the courts are bestowing on him, yes 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?"
After completing his sentence on March 14, Joe was immediately transferred into the custody of ICE. His appeal against the deportation order was denied on April 21.