For some reason, a little thundercloud of “controversy” over his eligibility to serve as President of the United States has been hovering over Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). On Sunday, he took it seriously enough to release his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News, which dutifully ran with an image of the document in question. It does not seem to have taken Senator Cruz very long to locate his birth certificate, and very little drama was involved.
The reason this is a big deal, to the people making a big deal about it, is that Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother. This technically makes him a citizen of both Canada and the United States, under the laws of the respective countries. As the Dallas Morning News explains:
Unless the Texas Republican senator formally renounces that citizenship, he will remain a citizen of both countries, legal experts say.
That means he could assert the right to vote in Canada or even run for Parliament. On a lunch break from the U.S. Senate, he could head to the nearby embassy ??? the one flying a bright red maple leaf flag ??? pull out his Calgary, Alberta, birth certificate and obtain a passport.
???He???s a Canadian,??? said Toronto lawyer Stephen Green, past chairman of the Canadian Bar Association???s Citizenship and Immigration Section.
The circumstances of Cruz???s birth have fueled a simmering debate over his eligibility to run for president. Knowingly or not, dual citizenship is an apparent if inconvenient truth for the tea party firebrand, who shows every sign he???s angling for the White House.
???Senator Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth, and he never had to go through a naturalization process after birth to become a U.S. citizen,??? said spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. ???To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce.???
The U.S. Constitution allows only a ???natural born??? American citizen to serve as president. Most legal scholars who have studied the question agree that includes an American born overseas to an American parent, such as Cruz.
The Constitution says nothing about would-be presidents born with dual citizenship.
If the Constitution says nothing about it, then why is anyone getting bent out of shape over it? Is there a single person in America (or, for that matter, Canada) who thinks Cruz would become a sinister sleeper agent of Canadian influence if he won the Presidency? Maybe he would add a new individual mandate to ObamaCare requiring regular participation in ice-based contact sports, to improve cardiovascular fitness.
This isn’t truly a case of legal technicalities requiring us to seriously contemplate a situation that defies common sense. There’s nothing legally inconvenient to Cruz here. His parents lived in Canada for a while, to run a business operation. They left when Ted was four years old. He has never once sought to exercise any Canadian citizenship rights. And even if he did, there’s nothing in the Constitution that would bar him from service as the President, provided he meets the legal definition of a “natural-born citizen of the United States,” which he most certainly does.
The requirements are quite simple, and both Cruz and his mother demonstrably meet them. She spent the required amount of time living in the United States, after her birth in Delaware. Under the rules in effect at the time of the Senator’s birth in 1970, nothing else is required for a child born on foreign soil to a married American mother or father to acquire automatic U.S. citizenship. Neither Ted Cruz nor the government of the United States has ever legally asserted that he was anything but a natural-born American citizen.
The only thing left of this “controversy” is the phantasmagorical allegation that Cruz must formally renounce an equally automatic Canadian citizenship he has never used, even though the Constitution does not require it. Have we become so accustomed to looking for “penumbras and emanations” in the Constitution? We’re supposed to toss out the really important parts of the Constitution and the Founders’ writings like so much rubbish, whenever the government wants to assert new powers over our lives… but on the matter of Ted Cruz’ eligibility for President, we must parse every syllable until we develop migraine headaches, staring at the white space between words until new requirements appear.
What’s the endgame for the Cruz citizenship critics? Forcing him to spend a hundred bucks and shuffle paperwork for a few months to formally renounce his unused but automatic Canadian citizenship? It’s more likely that you’re teeing up an awesome “Why I Am An American” speech from Cruz.
None of this is happening in a vacuum, of course. There’s the long, turgid drama over the Obama birth certificate – a drama produced with no small degree of cooperation from President Obama, whose stubborn arrogance dragged things out for years. Maybe some of the Ted Cruz “citizenship controversy” is meant as payback. It also fits into the swiftly-escalating campaign of personal destruction leveled against Cruz, which says more about the danger he represents to the Left than the amount of time he’s spending in Iowa and New Hampshire these days.
Update: Senator Cruz announced on Monday evening that he would indeed renounce his putative Canadian citizenship, after checking with the Canadian government to make sure he does indeed have one. “Nothing against Canada,” he said, “but I’m an American by birth, and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American.” The only detail left unresolved is whether the $100 administrative fee for renouncing Canadian citizenship must be paid in Canadian dollars.