Ted Cruz And The Canadian Birth Issue
One of the commentators to my post about Ted Cruz’s possible Presidential ambitions brought up the issue of his Canadian birth and the question of whether or not he is eligible to run for the Presidency. Cruz’s situation is slightly different from that of President Obama, who was born on American soil to an American citizen mother and Kenyan citizen father. In that case,the President is clearly a citizen from birth, a natural born citizen, by virtue of the fact that he was born on United States soil. This is established most clearly by the first sentence of the opening section of the 14th Amendment which states:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
Because he was born in the United States, Barack Obama was a citizen from birth, which is what made the birther arguments against him so silly.
Cruz’s situation is slightly different. He was born December 22, 1970 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to a mother who was an American citizen and a Cuban immigrant father who was not yet an U.S. citizen. Unlike the President, Cruz could not derive his citizenship from the location of his birth. However, as Jim Geraghty explains, he was still a United States citizen from birth due to the statutes governing citizenship at the time:
When one parent was a US citizen and the other a foreign national,the US citizen parent must have resided in the US for a total of 10 years prior to the birth of the child, with five of the years after the age of 14. An exception for people serving in the military was created by considering time spent outside the US on military duty as time spent in the US.
Cruz’s mother was in her 30s when her son was born in 1970, so she had lived in the United States as a U.S. citizen for the required number of years to confer U.S. citizenship on her son regardless of where his birth took place.
So, yes, Ted Cruz is Constitutionally eligible to run for President.
Update: James Joyner and I posted nearly simultaneously on this issue, his post raises a related argument from a different source. Suffice it to say there’s no merit to any argument that Cruz is ineligible to run. Nonetheless, if he runs, I suspect that there will be “Cruz birthers” on the right making the argument, and making a similar argument regarding Marco Rubio.