By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Nov. 22, 2013

LOS ANGELES – It’s a lawsuit three years in the making. Philippine-born Sharon Arlanza is suing the U.S. government for attempting to deport her despite being a lawful U.S. citizen.

Her counsel, Matt Adams of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project said, “What we’re hoping is she can receive compensation for the harm she suffered. You can never give someone back the time that they spent locked up. The least she can receive some compensation
for that harm and two we also hope this has impact of making ice officials more conscious.”

The problems began in 2010 when Yost pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug possession charge. While lawyers said she had already served her original punishment, immigration officers eventually came to her San Diego home in May of 2011 to deport her.

Yost, now 33-years-old, had been a U-S citizen since 1993, after her mother married a U-S Navy man.

Despite producing documents, she was held in detention for nearly seven months.

Adams said, “They basically just blew that off. The next seven months, she was locked up while trying to prove to them that she’s a
US citizen. They didn’t believe her so they put her in front of an immigration judge and the immigration judge said, ‘There’s something funny here you guys need to figure this out’ and ICE’s response was to make her file an application to prove she’s a U.S. citizen and all along she was locked up.”

Yost sought help from the National Lawyers Guild earlier this year and filed her lawsuit last month. The NLG said they have handled similar cases in the past.

They believe part of the problem may stem from the country’s broken immigration system, which they said at times encourage immigration officers to actively seek deportable people.

“That’s why we encourage people to get their citizenship so that they will have more stability, that they’ll be able to have greater opportunity as far as petitions and they won’t be in jeopardy or lose their status if they make a mistake or a crime,” Adams pointed out.

Before her time in prison…Yost was a college student on the job hunt with a few health problems. Reports said Yost is seeking as much as two-million dollars in damages.

Adams added, “To make things worse, she suffers from diabetes. She was exacerbated by her time in detention so it was a really emotional and traumatic experience for her.”

Yost is not yet addressing the media at this time.

The U-S Citizenship and Immigration Services has not responded to the media as well, but the agency is expected to respond to Yost’s lawsuit by December.

You may contact Steve Angeles at for more information.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • I D
    24 November 2013 at 10:08 am - Reply

    In December you all will find out what happen, all about her lawsuit. There has to be more to this story. The U.S. citizenship and immigration services hardly make mistakes.

  • va
    25 November 2013 at 6:49 am - Reply

    There’s a distinct classification between a Naturalized Citizen and a Born-Citizen.