Will an undocumented parent affect my security clearance?

I got a job offer with the Navy that requires a secret clearance. I am a US citizen and I have no criminal record, no financial issues, no metal health concerns, and no drug use. My mother is a permanent resident and my father has no legal status. I have to list my father’s address and place of work the SF 86 form. My father has no criminal history and pays his taxes. He has been living in the US for the last 20 years. Could I potentially be putting him at risk for deportation and having this information shared with ICE?

You will be required to list his place of birth and citizenship status on the SF86. Foreign connections and family are vetted to ensure your loyalty lies with the US and not related country through father. You must be honest when listing relatives. I believe honestly stating his citizenship status will not be a problem for your clearance, but being untruthful…would hurt you. As for hurting dad…understanding not wanting that by any stretch…I truly do not know if they pass that on to ICE.

Fed-Investigator, your thoughts?


Based on the mission of ICE, one could assume such information is shared. A legacy of the post-9/11 reforms.

I would guess the Navy would not bother too much with that info, but if you were an ICE or CBP or other DHS component applicant, it would likely cause a lot of questions.

You do get several chances to explain yourself throughout the security process.

Don’t worry - simply have your facts straight, regardless of outcome.

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Working in the Southwest region, we deal with this all of the time, I mean almost monthly I have at least one of these cases.

It is no show stopper at all but it does require extra scrutiny.

As far as risking deportation for the relative, I don’t know. I have never heard of this happening and we don’t report to ICE as far as I am aware. That being said, the possibility is always there.

There will always be the inherent risk of deportation for the relative as long as they remain in an undocumented status and it is on the relative to remedy that.

You need to live your life.


Thank you for the information. I appreciate it. What do you mean by requiring extra scrutiny? Will they investigate the undocumented relative or interview the applicant?

Applicant will be interviewed along with others who are knowledgable of the relative’s status, could be a friend that is aware, cousin or other family member.

I’ve often wondered about this - being in a country without proper documentation or without rights to do so is illegal activity - correct?

If so, individuals who know about such illegal situations and do nothing, condone such activity?

Does this speak to or affect a clearance holders responsibility, trustworthiness and commitment to citizenship?

With 12 to 15 non legal residents, if the government stopped to investigate and deport every non legal resident, nothing else would be accomplished. Investigating 12 million people would involve easily 36 million staffers. Likely more, 3 people per non legal. I think it is something that will be looked at, rightly so. But if it doesn’t appear to be a path to selling classified I bet it is not an issue.