San Diego woman faces U.S. citizenship revocation and deportation

Naturalized in '93, jailed in 2011, sues for false imprisonment and distress in '13

Sharon Arlanza Yost, a 33-year-old San Diegan, claims that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers kept her wrongfully imprisoned for seven months and then tried to revoke her citizenship after she sued for emotional distress and false imprisonment.

In 2010, Yost pleaded guilty to a methamphetamine-related charge, which set in motion a chain of events that led to her arrest on May 14, 2011, based on a conclusion by federal officials that she was a non-citizen eligible for deportation due to her conviction.

The problem, however, is that Yost came to the United States in 1991 at age 11; her Filipina mother married a U.S. Navy serviceman in 1985 and Yost gained full citizenship rights in 1989. Her attorneys claim that she was naturalized as a citizen in 1993 and, as such, the 2011 arrest warrant issued for her deportation was invalid.

While imprisoned and facing deportation from May through December 2011, Yost filed at least 20 appeals, insisting she was a legal citizen and demanding her release. Nine days after she was released, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services drafted a document confirming that Yost did indeed gain full rights of citizenship 18 years prior to her detention.

Vindicated, Yost hired lawyers and filed suit seeking compensation for her erroneous 208-day detention.

“Following the filing of that administrative complaint, DHS officers re-reviewed Ms. Yost's citizenship status and issued a notice of intent for administrative cancellation of citizenship,” reads the latest suit, filed October 18 in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Yost now seeks damages for “negligence, false imprisonment, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

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