Naturalized citizen vs. Natural born citizens

What I have been thinking lately is why naturalized citizens are actually considered maybe not a ‘high risk’, but often a ‘complicated case’ when applying for clearances.
From a time when a first generation immigrant lands his/her foot on the US soil till the day he/she is granted with naturalization certificate – all this time is just one long grueling nerve wrecking immigration process – all your life chopped into pieces, turned and looked under magnifying glass. By the time a naturalized citizen applies for any clearance government knows about you and about your family E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G
On other hand natural born citizen has no ‘government file/record’ perse, given he/she never been an government employee. It’s seems to me for an investigator to dig into natural born citizen’s background will take more effort compare to naturalized citizen, where investigator can simply pool USCIS file and half work is done.
Maybe my line of thoughts too simplistic, but if you have time share your insight.

There is not so much “pooling” of information that you would think. US citizens demand expect freedoms and privacy that many other countries require their citizens to submit to. US Agencies are primarily filled with government employees who believe in and protect these right. An Orwellian 1984 is not in our future.

Natural citizens do have records - criminal records, financial records, education records, family records. All of which is much more reliable (and verifiable) than the information you provide to USCIS.

Also, you may have missed this part, but you’re not entitled to a security clearance…

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32 CFR § 147.4 Guideline B - Foreign influence.

(a) The concern. A security risk may exist when an individual’s immediate family, including cohabitants and other persons to whom he or she may be bound by affection, influence, or obligation are not citizens of the United States or may be subject to duress. These situations could create the potential for foreign influence that could result in the compromise of classified information. Contacts with citizens of other countries or financial interests in other countries are also relevant to security determinations if they make an individual potentially vulnerable to coercion, exploitation, or pressure.

In today’s connected world it is easier than ever to keep contacts active with people all over the world. Fifty years ago, a long-distance phone call from New York to Los Angeles was still a bit of a luxury; today people can communicate between any two points on the globe for free. This certainly helps to keep those ties of “affection, influence, or obligation” alive. Social media also provides a more or less open book for people to keep in contact.

For people whose close relatives come from countries whose national interests are hostile to the US and whose intelligence services are highly capable, this can create a serious concern.

Of course, espionage is not limited to people with foreign ties. For example, which of following individuals were foreign born:

A. Aldrich Ames
B. Robert Hanssen
C. Edward Snowden
D. Bradley Manning
E. None of the above


I dont think it’s an entitlement problem, it’s asking for fair and reasonable treatment. If it takes 4 + years for people w/ “foreign backgrounds” to get cleared or hear back on a denial, what’s the point in offering them a job?

In some sense, it would make more sense to just not offer positions to any naturalized citizens or people with foreign ties. Better to be upfront than bait people.

@GenerationX : Your observation is interesting but ultimately the gov needs to do extra vetting because there’s more to look at. Completely justified as the vetting process for immigrants does not seem to be as extensive as ones might expect.

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Naturalized or native citizens - it’s not the type of citizenship that causes delays but the issues, or areas of concern, attached to that citizen.Also, the specific job/Agency is a huge factor, Naturalized citizens with family members still in certain regions of the world carry issue baggage that others don’t carry. I have seen these naturalized citizens get the job and the clearance. I have also seen many not get those jobs.The clearance process is about risk management.

I worked on a job and somehow the customer was able to specify that foreign-born US citizens could not work it. They even tried to block a woman who was born overseas to US parents. I think maybe contractors could request an exception but they had to provide very strong justification.

Im a Us citizen born in Ireland and I have being granted clearances with TSA DHS and no issues but i did immigrate here in 1986 so long time here … plus Ireland has good relations with the USA i believe :slight_smile:

True! This is amazing country! The safeguard of freedoms in the Bill of Rights and Constitution are faithfully protected. The model of three independent branches of government balancing each other out has no precedent in the world. I was born in a country with constitutional protections, but no one follows, no one reads it and it’s just a piece of history. And it’s unfortunate… In USA the Bill of Rights and Constitution are living documents, they get referred to every day by appealing to Supreme Court. The SC deciding cases based on principles that founding fathers wrote back in seventeenth hundreds. Amazing!

Who knows. There were a lot of odd things about that program which I think are best kept to myself :slight_smile: