Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz grew up in Texas, but he was also a Canadian citizen until 2013. The Texas senator’s mother, who was born in Delaware, and his father, who was born in Cuba and became a U.S. citizen in 2005, were working in Calgary when baby Ted came on the scene. As a result, Cruz had dual citizenship. But he renounced it in 2013 after the issue was raised— mostly as a matter of optics—in the context of a potential presidential bid.
Now that Cruz has officially announced, the question is bubbling up again. Cruz is an American citizen, but is he a natural-born citizen eligible for the presidency as outlined by the Constitution?
Under the law, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” Cruz’s mother is American, so from from British common law to the Naturalization Act of 1790 and onward, he meets the criteria. But Cruz’s own views on the Constitution—he leans literal—have invited some heightened scrutiny, since the term “natural-born” isn’t explicitly defined.
In conversation with Cruz on Tuesday, Fusion’s Jorge Ramos asked him to weigh in.
“Senator, last time we spoke you were a Canadian citizen. Are you still?” Ramos asked.
Cruz replied: “I am not. I was born in Canada, in Calgary… my mother was a U.S. citizen by birth, so I’m an American citizen by birth.”
Asked if he thought it was an issue, Cruz replied: “Legally, not an issue at all.”
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