Cruz to Renounce Canadian Citizenship; but Qualified to be President?

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
01/02/2014
       
Cruz to Renounce Canadian Citizenship; but Qualified to be President?

Although he is renouncing his Canadian citizenship, questions remain regarding Senator Ted Cruz's constitutional qualification to be president.

In what can only be a sign that he is softening the beach for an attack on the White House in 2016, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has “retained counsel” to help him renounce his Canadian citizenship.

Citing a "recent interview" given by Cruz, the Dallas Morning News published an article on December 28 reporting that the freshman senator and lightning rod for leftist rage announced that his lawyers are “preparing the paperwork” necessary to give up the dual citizenship that he maintains as a result of his birth in Calgary, Alberta.

Sorting out Cruz’s legal nationality is legally perplexing for several reasons. First, as indicated, he was born in Canada. His father, though, was a Cuban citizen. Although he would later become a naturalized citizen of the United States (in 2005), when the future senator was born in 1970, the elder Cruz was still a Cuban citizen. As for Cruz’s mother, she was born and raised in Delaware. 

Senator Cruz was born while his parents were working in the oil fields of Alberta. They would return to the United States in 1974 after the oil industry took a nose dive.

As the race to replace Barack Obama (another man with enduring questions surrounding his legal citizenship) draws nearer, Ted Cruz is understandably concerned with avoiding any connection with a “birther” controversy of his own.

The Dallas Morning News seems to believe that the matter is a non-issue, though, claiming in the article “the strong legal consensus is that with even one American parent — a circumstance shared by Obama and Cruz — a child born anywhere qualifies as a 'natural born American,' entitled to citizenship at birth and therefore eligible to serve as president.”

Unfortunately, “strong legal consensus” is not the standard for presidential eligibility. That privilege belongs to Article II of the Constitution.

Article II requires that the president be a “natural born citizen of the United States.”

Although the newspaper reports that Cruz “shrugged off any political implication” of his questionable constitutional qualifications, Americans devoted to upholding constitutional standards and the rule of law are likely a bit less nonchalant.

In order to remain true to the Founders’ intent in drafting Article II, one must delve into the historical origins of the “natural born citizen” phrase as used in the Constitution. The Constitution does not define natural born citizenship, and the Supreme Court and Congress have likewise shied away from putting a finer point on this crucial characteristic. 

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