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Deported Connecticut Army Veteran Gains U.S. Citizenship, Reunites With Family

July 27, 2017 (1 min read)

Peggy McCarthy, New Haven Register, July 24, 2017 - "Arnold Giammarco, the Army and National Guard veteran deported to Italy nearly five years ago, is back home in Connecticut with his wife and daughter. ... 

Giammarco landed at JFK Airport on July 16, nine days after he becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in a military ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. Giammarco originally had applied for citizenship in 1982 and said the government never processed it. Officials later contended that the application was incomplete.

Giammarco has been living in Campo Di Fano, Italy, his birthplace. He did some caretaking, attended church, helped residents with chores and continued to apply for visas and battle to return to the U.S. Being away from his wife, Sharon, and their daughter was “very disturbing, very upsetting, very traumatic, just a bad experience.”

“It’s heartbreaking” missing birthdays, holidays and everyday life with family, he said.

He credited his homecoming to his wife’s persistence and the Yale Law School clinics that have been working for his return since 2013. They initiated court actions, sought temporary visas, tried unconventional tactics — such as attempting to get approval for him to testify before the state legislature — and spent months schooling him via Skype in civics questions in preparation for the citizenship interview. Two Yale students and a faculty member accompanied him to the U.S. Embassy in Rome.

“They’ve been doing an excellent job,” Giammarco said, adding, “they brought everything to the table.”

In March, Giammarco’s Yale lawyers, who represented him for free, reached a settlement in a federal court suit that permitted him to submit a new naturalization application and stipulated that the “aggravated felony” for stealing tools, which had been cited by the officers who took him away, would not bar him from obtaining his citizenship. The settlement wasn’t disclosed until after Giammarco returned home.

Giammarco said he felt betrayed by the U.S. government, especially since he served in the military for six years. “I served my country. I served it honorably,” he said."