In a continuation of his efforts to re-enter the country, deported Connecticut resident Arnold Giammarco has started the process of appealing the ruling from Connecticut District Court Judge Vanessa Bryant that prevents him from testifying at a public hearing in Connecticut he was subpoenaed to.
Giammarco filed an April 12 notice of appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in opposition to Bryant’s April 1 ruling, which disallowed Giammarco and fellow deported Connecticut resident Paolina Milardo to re-enter the country from Italy. The two had been subpoenaed in February to testify at a public hearing that would address the consequences of Connecticut’s immigration laws on immigrant families. Connecticut state Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Hartford, and state Rep. William Tong, D-Stamford, of the Connecticut General Assembly, issued the subpoenas partly because the residents had experienced deportation in 2012 and 2011 respectively, due to prior criminal convictions.
Claire Simonich LAW ’16, Avinash Samarth LAW ’16 and Aaron Korthuis LAW ’17 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 — have been assisting Giammarco in his case. Simonich and Korthuis both signed Giammarco’s notice of appeal. Milardo decided not to pursue the appeal, for reasons Simonich could not disclose.
“We were very disappointed that the decision meant that Mr. Giammarco couldn’t come back to testify before the legislature,” Simonich said. “This legislature represented him for 50 years. They found his testimony was necessary, and he was perfectly willing to come.”
In the April 1 ruling, Bryant dismissed Giammarco’s case on the grounds of a “lack of subject matter jurisdiction”; Bryant argued that her district court did not have the legal authority to amend the federal government’s decision to deport Giammarco and Milardo. She also explained that video conferencing — an alternative to in-person testimony proposed by the Immigration Customs Enforcement — is a viable option.
Giammarco and his legal team are required to submit an addendum within 14 days of the April 12 filing of the notice of appeal, Simonich said. The addendum will contain a basic outline of the argument behind Giammarco’s appeal. Simonich added that by the end of May or beginning of June, Giammarco and his legal team will have to submit a brief, which will contain the fully developed argument of the appeal.
“We’re working on that now, but we haven’t finished it yet. The big arguments are still developing,” Simonich said. “It’s not guaranteed [the appeal] will go to oral argument, but we do have a right to appeal a dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, which is what we have done.”
Simonich said that if the appeal does reach an oral argument, it will likely take place in the fall.
Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman of the U.S. Department of Justice, declined to comment on the case to the News.
Apart from his efforts to return for the public hearing on immigration, Giammarco is also in the midst of pursuing a case for his naturalization. In 1982 Giammarco filed an application to become a U.S. citizen, which the Department of Homeland Security never adjudicated due to its nonfiling policy — a policy that allowed the government not to consider certain immigration cases. This policy has since been abandoned.
Bryant, who presided both the petition and the naturalization case, gave Giammarco “a favorable ruling” on March 17, according to Simonich. Bryant ruled against the government’s motion to dismiss Giammarco’s pursuit of citizenship and compelled the government to adjudicate Giammarco’s case in a reasonable amount of time. Simonich said that the federal government was given 60 days to adjudicate Giammarco’s naturalization.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit includes districts from Connecticut, New York and Vermont.