Is Senator Ted Cruz Eligible to be President of the United States?

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Is Senator Ted Cruz eligible to be President of the United States? Image courtesy of the Office of Senator Ted Cruz

Is Senator Ted Cruz eligible to be President of the United States? Image courtesy of the Office of Senator Ted Cruz

Recently Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) showed his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News.  The newspaper posted it online on August 18, 2013. According to the certificate, Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on December 22, 1970.

Although the next presidential election will not be held for another three and one-half years, it appears that potential presidential candidates from both parties are beginning to position themselves for potential primary runs.

Cruz, who has a lot of support among Tea Party members, has been mentioned as a possible contender in the 2016 Republican primary. The release of his birth certificate has spurned another “birther” movement and the question being asked is whether he is eligible, under the Constitution of the United States, to hold the office of president, should he be elected.

Senator Cruz is a Canadian Citizen by Birth

According to information given to the Alberta Department of Vital Statistics at the time Cruz was born, his mother, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson was born in Delaware and his father, Rafael Benvenido Cruz, was born in Cuba.

Cruz’s father was an engineer and the couple moved to Calgary to take advantage of the oil boom that was taking place at the time of their son’s birth. The family remained in Canada until Ted was four years old.

After the publication of the birth certificate, the senator’s spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, said that Cruz was a United States citizen since the time of his birth and is not a citizen of Canada.

This is not true. Although it is possible the thought he is a citizen of Canada never crossed his mind until recently, nevertheless he is a Canadian citizen by virtue of his birth.

Under Canada’s Citizenship Act, the scheme of which has been in place since 1947, all persons born on Canadian soil are Canadian citizens with one exception. Children born in Canada to parents who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents and who are in Canada because one or both are part of a diplomatic mission or who work for a United Nations agency and have diplomatic status, are not Canadian citizens. They become citizens of the county their parent or parents represent.

As neither parent was a diplomat at the time of his birth, the senator was, and still is, a citizen of Canada. He is therefore entitled to all the rights of a Canadian citizen including the right to live in Canada, vote in elections, run for political office and demand the Canadian government save him if he encounters difficulties in a war-torn part of the world.

The fact Senator Cruz may not realize this, and has never requested documentary proof of Canadian citizenship, does not mean he is not a Canadian citizen.

U.S. Constitutional Requirements to be President

The minimum requirements to be president of the United States are set out in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. Besides the requirements that the president be at least 35 years of age and have resided in the United States for at least 14 years, the president must be a “natural born citizen” of the U.S. The only exception to this, totally irrelevant now, was for those who were born in another country prior to the United States becoming a country and were American citizens when the union was formed.

Whether Cruz is qualified to be president depends upon what the term “natural born” means. Does it mean someone who was born on U.S. soil, or does it mean someone like Cruz who was born in another country but had an automatic right to citizenship because of his or her parentage? In the latter case, the right to automatic citizenship means although he was born in Canada, he obtained U.S. citizenship without having to go through the naturalization process by virtue of his mother’s citizenship.

Under American law, a person who is born abroad but has at least one parent who is a citizen of the United States, is entitled to American citizenship without going through the naturalization process. In addition to Cruz’s parents registering his birth with the province of Alberta, his mother also registered his birth at an American consulate in Canada.

As with his Canadian status, there is no doubt Cruz is an American citizen.

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