The Ted Cruz Natural-Born Citizen Issue
Another Update: New Jersey judge rules in Cruz’s favor on “natural born citizen “issue. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ted-cruz-is-us-citizen-judge-rules/ar-BBrHzpx?OCID=ansmsnnews11
Recent Update: In addition to the following information, please note that Ted Cruz has won a case before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
A Pittsburgh resident and registered Republican voter, Carmon Elliott, had argued that Cruz isn’t eligible to run for president or to appear on Pennsylvania’s April 26 primary ballot because he was born in Canada.
Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini ruled March 11 that common law precedent and statutory history maintain that an eligible candidate includes any person born to an American citizen, regardless of where.
Elliott had acknowledged that Cruz’s mother was born in the United States and has been a U.S. citizen her whole life.
In the 2016 election many have challenged Ted Cruz’s ability to run for President since he was born in Canada and his father was Cuban. The United States Constitution requires the President and Vice-President to be a “natural born citizen” of the United States. Like the earlier “birther” complaints about Barack Obama supposedly being born in Kenya, the complaints about Cruz’ citizenship are heavy on noisy rhetoric and grossly short on logic.
Conspicuously, in spite of the numerous Republican opponents, nobody has successfully filed any court litigation on this point, for good reason. Cruz’ US citizenship deriving from his Delaware born mother’s US citizenship meets the statutory requirement for be a “natural born citizen.” (See Cruz’ mother’s birth certificate.) (And Ted Cruz’ Canadian birth certificate.) Several court cases have been filed and dismissed by the courts. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/spin-cycle/lawsuit-challenging-ted-cruz-s-citizenship-status-dismissed-by-ny-court-1.11614047
There are two answers to why Ted Cruz is a US Citizen, a short answer and a complicated long answer.
Short Answer: There are two types of US citizenship, Natural Born and Naturalized. If the US federal law acknowledges you as a citizen without the need to go through the naturalization process, you are a natural born citizen. Ted Cruz has never been naturalized, he has been issued a US passport, therefore the US government deems him to be a natural born citizen.
Long Answer: The long answer starts out with the same logic as the short answer, but the details are filled out with specific references.
Section 1 of Article Two of the United States Constitution sets forth the eligibility requirements for serving as president of the United States, under clause 5:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
The Twelfth Amendment states, “No person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.” The Fourteenth Amendment does not use the phrase natural-born citizen. It does provide, “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.”
Under Article One of the United States Constitution, representatives and senators are required to be U.S. citizens, but there is no requirement that they be natural born.
Eight of the first nine presidents—Martin Van Buren being the exception—as well as early potential presidential candidates, were born as British subjects in British America before the American Revolution but were eligible for the office by virtue of having been citizens at the time that the Constitution was adopted.
Jus soli is a Latin term that means law of the soil. Many countries follow the system of jus soli or more commonly known as, birthright citizenship. Under this concept, citizenship of a person is determined by the place where a person was born. Jus soli is the most common means a person acquires citizenship of a nation. Another system called jus sanguinis is when a person acquires citizenship through their parents or ancestors. The U.S. follows the jus soli system to determine citizenship. What this means is that whoever is born in the U.S. and is subject to its jurisdiction is automatically granted U.S. citizenship. The Fourteenth Amendment, codified that judicial authorities recognize that the philosophy was integral at the conception of the country’s constitution.
Pursuant to 8 USCS § 1401, the following persons can acquire citizenship by jus soli:
A person born in the U.S., and subject to its jurisdiction.
- A person born in the U.S. as a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe.
- A person of unknown parentage found in the U.S. while under the age of five year. The person can remain a U.S. citizen if it is not shown before s/he attains twenty five years that the person was not born in the U.S.
- A person born in an outlying possession of the U.S. (i.e., including Puerto Rico, the old Panama Canal Zone, Panama, the Virgin Islands and Guam) of parents, one of whom is a citizen of the U.S. who has been physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year at any time prior to the birth of such person.
“Jus soli” is common in developed countries that desires to increase their own citizenry. Although many countries follow general jus soli rules for citizenship, most also require that the parents also have citizenship of the country, or legal residency. The only countries that allow a child of any person who is physically born in a country to be a citizen are Cuba, Chile and the United States, hence the other 2016 election issue involving “anchor babies” and illegal immigration.
Most European countries follow the principle of Jus sanguinis. In general, citizenship is conferred by birth to a parent who is already a citizen of that country, or by naturalization in that country. This is contrary to Jus Soli because the mere fact that a person is born there does not, in and of itself doesn’t confer citizenship.
If a country follows the “jus sanguinis” or right of blood system, you inherit a parent’s citizenship. So, if your father and mother were each from a different jus sanguinis nation and you were born in a jus soli jurisdiction, you would be able to claim citizenship in three countries.
There are, however, exceptions to a rule a country follows because of treaties with other countries such as children of foreign diplomats are recognized as being citizens of the country that sent their parents there.
Also, people born on a foreign flagship or airliner are entitled to claim citizenship in the country under whose flag the vessel was registered.
In Ted Cruz’ case, he was born in Canada, but his parents were citizens of Cuba and the United States respectively. Under Canada’s jus soli laws, Cruz would be entitled to claim Canadian citizenship if he so wished. He did not, and, in fact, affirmatively rejected Canadian citizenship a few years ago, when the issue first came up. Instead, Ted Cruz claimed US citizenship under his mother’s US citizenship, per jus sanguinas law. US statutes clearly allow a child born of a US mother overseas to claim his US birthright. Ted Cruz did this and was acknowledged by the United States government to be a US citizen and was issued a US passport.
One last issue, although Ted Cruz has affirmatively rejected his Canadian citizenship, some have asked whether he might also have Cuban citizenship, based on his father’s Cuban citizenship at the time of his birth. Chapter II Article 29 of the Cuban Constitution provides that a person born to a Cuban parent overseas can be a Cuban citizen, but only if they comply with Cuban law and affirmatively ask for that citizenship. So, both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio might be eligible to ask Raul Castro for Cuban citizenship based upon their father’s Cuban citizenship. Don’t hold your breath. Absent that request, they are both US citizens.