News & Events

Print/PDF this page:

Print Friendly and PDF

Share this page:

Deported U.S. Veteran Seeks Return to Home and Family

Arnold Giammarco, a U.S. Army veteran deported to Italy nearly two years ago, continues his legal battle to reunite with his wife, five-year-old daughter, and elderly parents in Connecticut. With representation from the Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) and the Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) at Yale Law School, Giammarco has submitted a pardon application to the Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles (BOPP) and an application for humanitarian parole to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Giammarco was four years old when he arrived in the United States in 1960 as a lawful permanent resident and eventually served in the Connecticut National Guard and as a sergeant in the Army. In 1982,  Giammarco filed a naturalization application, which the government never finished processing. In 2011, while his application was pending, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Giammarco, illegally detained him without bond for nearly a year and a half, and then deported him to Italy based on old shoplifting and possessory drug convictions.

The state's attorneys who prosecuted Giammarco have advised the clinics that they do not oppose an unconditional pardon for him.

“The relevant state’s attorneys all have weighed in and have agreed that the Division of Criminal Justice does not oppose Mr. Giammarco’s pardon application,” Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Leonard Boyle wrote to Giammarco’s lawyers. “You may feel free to represent this position to the BOPP.”

After spending fifty-one years of his life in the United States, Giammarco struggles to adjust to life in a country that is foreign to him, thousands of miles from his home and his wife, Sharon (a U.S. citizen), and their five-year-old daughter. On November 12, 2013, Giammarco filed a federal lawsuit seeking to compel U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to adjudicate his application, Giammarco v. Johnson, No. 3:13-cv-1670-VLB (D.Conn.).

Giammarco's application for humanitarian parole from DHS seeks permission to return to Connecticut for a period of one year to rejoin his family. His wife has been forced to take three jobs to support herself and their daughter. His mother, 84 years old, suffers from a terminal heart condition and his father, 91 years old, struggles with dementia. In addition, parole would allow Giammarco to testify at any BOPP hearing and to participate actively in his federal lawsuit, Giammarco v. Johnson.

“Arnold has proven that people can transform their lives and the lives of the people they love,” said his wife Sharon. “My daughter and I need him home so that we may continue to grow together. He has suffered enough and I pray that this pardon will give him another chance.” 

Garry Monk, executive director of the National Veteran’s Council for Legal Redress, said, “We urge the government to permit an upstanding veteran to return to the country he served honorably, the family that needs him, and the only home he knows."

“The Obama Administration has deported three million people, but Congress has given DHS broad authority to grant humanitarian parole to persons outside the United States,” said Erika Nyborg-Burch ’16, a Yale Law School student intern with the Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization, which links law students with individuals and organizations in need of legal help who cannot afford private attorneys. “DHS should bring this veteran home.”

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) was founded in 2010 to train law students and to serve the legal needs of veterans. Under the supervision of clinical professors, clinic students engage in litigation before administrative agencies and courts on a range of matters including disability benefits claims, discharge upgrades and other record corrections, Freedom of Information Act requests, deportation defense, class-action litigation, and civil rights lawsuits. In addition, students represent local and national organizations in non-litigation matters relating to the legal needs of veterans, including regulatory and legislative reform efforts, media advocacy, and strategic planning. The Veterans Legal Services Clinic is one of only a handful of law school clinics in the country dedicated exclusively to serving veterans.

The Worker & Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic (WIRAC) represents immigrants and low-wage workers in Connecticut in labor, immigration, trafficking, and other civil rights areas, through litigation for individuals and non-litigation advocacy for community-based organizations.