Ted Cruz’s curious position on citizenship

By Brad Rybczynski

Senator Ted Cruz wants to be president.

He was born in Calgary, Alberta (Canada) to a Cuban born father and American born mother. He contends, and from all of the research I have done, rightly so, that children of American citizens born abroad are still considered “natural born citizens” of the USA.

For the record, Cruz was in fact a citizen of Canada until he formally renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2013. It is perfectly legal and acceptable to have dual citizenship. It would appear that Cruz is in the clear and has no obstacle (at least as it pertains to citizenship) in his path to becoming president.

Now, for the fun of it, let’s look at another person who’s eligibility to be president was a hotly contested debate. The origins of his birth were questioned, and still are, ad nauseum. His birth certificate was demanded by countless skeptics. Of course, I am referring to our current Commander in Chief and president, Barack Obama. His father was born in Kenya and his mother in Kansas. He was born in Hawaii.

Now, according to the Cruz argument it shouldn’t matter where Obama was born. His mother was an American citizen and therefore no matter where he was born, Barack Obama would be a natural born citizen of the USA by virtue of his mother’s citizenship. Right? End of discussion? What am I missing here?

John McCain was born in Panama. Barry Goldwater in the territory, not state, of Arizona. George Romney who ran in 1968, was born in Mexico. Mitt Romney, who ran twice, had a father born in Mexico. The first 10 presidents were born prior to the final state of Rhode Island voted in favor of ratification of the Constitution with a total of 11 presidents in all born prior.

Technically the Constitution was officially ratified in 1789 which would still leave the first 9 presidents and a total of 10 born prior to the Constitution being the law of the land. Article II, Section 1 stipulates that any person must either be a natural born citizen or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. The only other stipulations are that the person have reached the age of 35 and been a resident for 14 years.

Still not seeing any issue here that sets Cruz apart from Obama. Although, his Canadian citizenship makes me more hesitant and curious about where his true loyalties might be. Are they with the Queen of England, titular head of state in Canada? Parliament?

Silly, isn’t it?

1 Comment

  1. The issue with Obama’s mother is her age at his birth. She was NOT 19 when he was born. Immigration law (not the constitution or the president) requires a parent (and a US citizen) to live in the US a total of 5 years after the age of 14 to be able to convey citizenship to a child born outside the US. Cruz’s US mother went to high school and college in US, thus exceeding the 5 year requirement. Therefore, there is NO issue with Cruz being born in Canada.

    I would suggest people read the basic constitution and the 14th amendment. Both assign Congress, not the president, the authority to determine and implement the definition of citizenship. And… they have done just that. Look for the relevant legislation and interpretations in the immigration and naturalization codes/laws.

    The 14th amendment comes the closest in the constitution to define citizenship. But you have to read the whole amendment not just the first few words – ” All Persons born or naturalized in the US”. But, it goes on to say, ” subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. Foreign diplomats are covered by diplomatic immunity thus not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the US. Thus, any of their children born in the US were not eligible for US citizenship. This was in effect until about 2010 when changed to grant citizenship. Again, the definition of citizenship is up to Congress, not the president or the constitution. Even the definition of “jurisdiction” can be debated and interpreted.

    Regarding the “first 11presidents being born before the constitution”: Again the author should read the constitution before writing about it. They were specifically exempt from the “natural born” requirement as long as they were “citizens at the time of the adoption of the constitution”.

    And regarding the “birther issue”: It was Hillary herself and separately, Phil Berg, one of her operatives, who created the birther issue. And this was Clinton dirty tactic during the campaign to discredit Obama who was ahead of her for the nomination. Also long before the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) movement started. It is not a party.

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