Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced on Monday that he will run for president, but the firebrand freshman Senator may still face questions on whether he is even legally eligible to enter the White House.
Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada to an American mother and Cuban-born father. This meant he acquired both US and Canadian citizenship at birth.
After his meteoric rise to national fame when he was elected to the Senate in 2012, he has been dogged by claims he is ineligible to become commander-in-chief since the Constitution states “no person except a natural born citizen” is eligible to assume the office of president.
Given the publicity over “the birthers,” the movement that alleged President Barack Obama was actually born abroad and claims he forged his birth certificate to list Hawaii as his birthplace, Cruz is likely to be a target of similar claims.
However, in 2013, constitutional experts told PolitiFact that the term “natural born citizen” isn’t explicitly defined by the constitution and the Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue to clarify.
Since his mother was an American citizen, the experts said they expect Cruz will be deemed an American citizen at birth and thus pass the eligibility test, even though there’s what Politifact described as “the tiniest sliver of uncertainty” his birthplace could derail his White House dreams. This little bit of doubt is due to the fact the term “natural born citizen” is somewhat vaguely defined.
“Unfortunately, we cannot say for sure without either a definitive Supreme Court ruling, or an amendment to clarify the Constitution,” a citizenship expert and law professor at Catholic University professor Sarah H. Duggin said.
Cruz’s team did not respond to request about for comment on the issue. However, in a pre-emptive move last May, he renounced his Canadian citizenship.
At the time his press secretary tweeted out the renunciation announcement with the message, “It’s official y’all.”
Here’s Ted Cruz’s letter from May 2014 renouncing his Canadian citizenship:
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