The wife of an Irish man facing deportation from the United States has said he is not a security risk or a criminal.

Speaking to RTÉ's Drivetime programme, Keran Byrne described her husband as a "tax-paying entrepreneur", and said he is not an undocumented illegal immigrant.

Thirty-seven year-old Keith Byrne, originally from Fermoy in Co Cork, was arrested while heading to work in Philadelphia last Wednesday morning.

He first entered the US in 2007 under the visa waiver programme (ESTA), but overstayed.

His family say Mr Byrne applied to be recognised as a permanent citizen, but because of two minor cannabis possession charges in Ireland, and his breach of the visa waiver programme, his application and subsequent appeals were turned down.

Mrs Byrne said they always knew it was possible that he would be denied to the point that he would have to go back to Ireland, but it never occurred to them that they would simply "pick him up off the street".

She said her husband had never been contacted by ICE before that moment, and that they were told a few years ago that Keith was not a person of interest.

"He is not an undocumented, illegal immigrant. He has been very documented, he's been trying to adjust his status and has been upfront and open about everything. It's done nothing but hurt the situation at this point."

Keith's brother Greg Byrne spoke to RTÉ's Morning Ireland earlier this week, and said his brother has until Friday to sign documentation that would give him a passport to leave the country.

Mrs Byrne said that he has to sign, or he can be charged criminally.

She said it is her understanding that the passport is all that is needed to send Keith to Ireland, and that they are doing everything they can to go before a judge and change the situation.

She said her husband is not being provided with accurate information.

"He's not getting any information, he's in a bubble. The only information he gets is through an ICE officer, and their number one goal is to deport him, so it's one-sided information. I'm telling him about all the support he's getting, I remind him every day that everyone is working hard for him to be released."

The couple have three children – six-year-old Leona, four-year-old Gabriel, and 13-year-old Ezra, who is Keran's son from a previous relationship.

She said the children are having a hard time understanding and dealing with the situation.

"I've told them that we're working hard to get those papers so that Daddy can come home. They know what's going on, they know he's being detained. I've told them that all he wants to do is come home and see them, and that it's not his fault. They're having a very hard time, it's very sad. They really don't understand, all they know is that their Dad is not here."

Mrs Byrne said all her focus has been on getting Keith released, and she thanked everyone who has shown the couple support.