Up until a few hours ago, Ted Cruz and I shared a unique privilege: that of dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Canadian parents, while Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta to a Cuban father and an American mother. So I don't anticipate any problems when I decide to run for president...but can the same be said for the Canadian expat Cruz?
Unsurprisingly, the news of Cruz renouncing his Canadian citizenship was Monday's breaking story on the Fox News Channel. Cruz's announcement came in quick succession to the release of his official birth certificate. Preparing for a potential 2016 presidential bid, this is Cruz's tactful attempt to get ahead of any potential "birther" controversies before the official campaign season starts. Quite ironically, it is now a Tea Party sweetheart in the cross-hairs of a citizenship inquisition.
The "birther" conspiracies that have plagued the presidential office have so far been aimed at President Barack Obama. However, this misguided inquisition was launched by people that chose to proactively ignore the facts regarding his place of birth.
The scenario involving Ted Cruz is vastly different, as by Cruz's own admission, he was in fact born in a country other than the United States of America. So at first glance, the "birther"
case against Cruz seems more plausible. Yet this cursory glance ultimately fails, as he was born to a natural born American citizen, Eleanor Cruz.
The prevailing legal interpretations of Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution would allow Cruz to be considered a "natural-born" citizen of the United States of America. A 2011 CRS Report for Congress further substantiates Ted Cruz's eligibility: The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term “natural born” citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship “by birth” or “at birth,” either by being born “in” the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.”
It should also be noted that the congressional interpretation of the natural-born citizen clause that qualifies Cruz would also dissolve any lingering birther claims aimed at President Obama. Because even if Obama had not been not born in the United States of America, like Cruz, he was born to an American mother and a non-citizen father.
The American public bore witness to the absurd and outrageous attempts from the right to disqualify Barack Obama from the presidency. So the dialogue and criticism of Cruz's potential candidacy should be centered around his politics and his personality, not his citizenship. Democrats should have no trouble making the case against this virulent Tea Party Republican in 2016.
And even in a worst case scenario where Ted Cruz is elected president in 2016, I must concede, having a "President Cruz" running this country sounds kinda cool.