Paolina Milardo and Arnaldo Giammarco have called Connecticut home since the early 1960s. But an April 1 decision filed by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant will prevent the former Connecticut residents — deported to Italy in 2011 and 2012, respectively — from ever returning.
Bryant ruled against an earlier March 16 petition filed by Milardo and Giammarco — who were deported because they had prior criminal convictions — to return to the United States. The petition requested that Milardo and Giammarco be permitted to re-enter the country to testify at a public hearing that aims to investigate the consequences of Connecticut’s immigration laws on immigrant families. Milardo and Giammarco were summoned to the hearing via subpoenas issued in late February by Connecticut state Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Hartford, and state Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, of the Connecticut General Assembly. Claire Simonich LAW ’16 and Avinash Samarth LAW ’16 from legal-aid group Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization — who defended Giammarco’s and Milardo’s petition before Bryant in a March 28 hearing — urged Bryant to adhere to Coleman and Tong’s request that the former Connecticut residents give live, in-person testimony at the hearing.
Bryant, however, was not convinced.
“While the Court fully recognizes and honors the sovereignty of the Connecticut General Assembly … [H]ere, in denying parole, [the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency] did not misapply the law, misstate facts or otherwise fail to validly exercise its discretion,” Bryant said in her April 1 decision.
Bryant also said videoconferencing could provide a viable alternative to in-person testimony, noting that ICE has offered to provide videoconferencing equipment to Giammarco and Milardo in Italy.
Bryant’s conclusion was partly based on the fact that district courts do not normally review federal decisions to grant foreign citizens parole. She also explained that the REAL ID Act — enacted by Congress as part of 2005’s Emergency Supplemental Appropriation Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror and Tsunami Relief, “precludes judicial review of certain discretionary decisions made by immigration officials.”
She described Milardo and Giammarco’s petition as a “clear and tacitly admitted” attempt to circumvent ICE’s decision to deport them, adding that district courts lack jurisdiction to reverse ICE’s denial of Milardo and Giammarco’s temporary travel to the United States.
The public hearing originally scheduled for April 4 was postponed indefinitely after Bryant released her decision, Lawrence Cook, Coleman’s press aide, said. Simonich said she and the team of Law School students from the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization hope the hearing will be rescheduled. She added that the team is exploring the possibility of appealing.
“We, as well as our clients, are disappointed with [Bryant’s] decision,” Aaron Korthuis LAW ’17, a member of the team representing Giammarco and Milardo, told the Connecticut Law Tribune Monday. “The decision means that Mrs. Milardo and Mr. Giammarco will not be able to testify before the very legislature that represented them for over 50 years, despite the legislature’s request to hear their testimony.”
Korthuis also told the Connecticut Law Tribune that Giammarco and Milardo may appeal Bryant’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Prior to deportation, Giammarco resided in Hartford and Milardo in Middletown.