Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is renouncing his Canadian citizenship, removing a potential distraction to a possible 2016 presidential campaign.
Cruz, 42, was born in Calgary to an American mother, automatically making him a U.S. citizen. The Dallas Morning News reported Aug. 18 that Cruz also automatically became a citizen of Canada upon his birth. The newspaper posted a copy of Cruz’s birth certificate in a story on its website.
“Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter,” Cruz said yesterday in a statement, according to the Austin American-Statesman newspaper.
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship,” Cruz said. “Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American.”
The U.S. Constitution says that “no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States,” may be eligible for the presidency. The Constitution doesn’t specify what the term “natural born citizen” means, and it doesn’t address dual citizenship.
The president must also be at least 35 years old and have resided within the U.S. for at least 14 years.
In April 2011, President Barack Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate in response to what he said was “silliness” by some political opponents who doubted he had been born a U.S. citizen. Obama, 52, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to an American mother and a Kenyan father.
So-called birthers questioning Obama’s citizenship -- and thus his eligibility to serve as president -- included billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who flirted with a bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump, in an interview broadcast Aug. 11 on ABC’s “This Week,” said “perhaps not” when asked whether he viewed Cruz as eligible to be president.
Obama’s Republican opponent in the 2008 presidential race, Senator John McCain, 76, of Arizona, was born of American parents in the Panama Canal Zone, prompting some to question whether he met the definition of “natural born citizen.”
Cruz’s father was a Cuban citizen who fled the country in 1957 and studied at the University of Texas. He and his wife were working in the oil business in Canada when their son was born. The elder Cruz became a U.S. citizen in 2005.
The younger Cruz has made political visits this year to Iowa and South Carolina, two states that traditionally hold early nomination contests in presidential election years. He is set to appear Aug. 23 in New Hampshire, the state that traditionally holds the first presidential primary.
Cruz was elected to the Senate in 2012, defeating a more politically experienced Republican in the party primary with the help of Tea Party activists who want to curb spending, taxes and government regulations.