On Sunday, it was announced that Texas Senator Ted Cruz will launch his presidential campaign on Monday at Liberty University in Virginia. While Jeb Bush is “exploring” a run for president, Ted Cruz would be the first official candidate if he does in fact declare his intentions tomorrow.
One issue about Ted Cruz that will certainly be mentioned is his place of birth. Ted Cruz was born to an American-born mother in Canada in 1970 because his father was working in the oil industry. Cruz’s father was born in Cuba. The Constitution requires the president to be a “natural born citizen.”
“In 2008, we reviewed research and polled several legal experts. The consensus was that someone is a “natural born” citizen if they have citizenship at birth and don’t have to go through a naturalization process to become a citizen.
If that’s the definition, then Cruz is a natural born citizen by being born to an American mother and having her citizenship at birth. (This same logic would apply to Obama, even if he were born in another country, which he wasn’t.)
The Congressional Research Service published a report on the issue after the 2008 election; the agency is tasked with providing authoritative research to all members of Congress. It, too, supported the thinking that “natural born” citizenship means citizenship held “at birth.”
But the Supreme Court — the ultimate arbiter of constitutional questions — has never ruled on the matter. And that means a note of uncertainty remains.
Sarah H. Duggin, a professor of law at Catholic University, has written about and studied the issue extensively. She told us in 2008 that the question of natural born citizenship is “one of the most deceptively simple, complex issues.””
In 2008, the rumors about where then candidate Obama was born and questions about his citizenship continued to linger until after he became president. Ted Cruz has gone so far as to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Some people might bring up Ted Cruz’s place of birth, but I doubt that it will have as much play as it did with the Tea Party because Ted Cruz has aligned himself with that camp already. Those who care about immigration may bring up the issue to illustrate how far to the right Cruz stands on the issue. Cruz opposes a path to citizenship for the undocumented who are currently in the U.S. and would like to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that the administration initiated a few years ago to protected undocumented youth who meet certain criteria from deportation.