An American President from Canada?

An American President from Canada? March 23, 2015

Photo: Jamelle Bouie / Flickr
Photo: Jamelle Bouie / Flickr

The internet was all abuzz this morning with the announcement that Ted Cruz, the US Senator from Texas, announced that he will be running as a Republican candidate for President of the United States. While others have suggested running, this announcement will create enough buzz to start bringing in sponsorships and garner support. Like being a Tea Party favorite was not worry enough.

What concerned me, among many other people commenting online via Twitter and Facebook, is that Cruz was born in Canada. Since we have gone through two recent Presidential terms with people claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya, rather than the states (and, for the record, it is well documented that he was born in Hawaii), it would naturally be of concern that someone, who was legitimately born outside of the United States, would be running for President.

So, I bit the line and started laughing at how outrageous it was that a non-natural US citizen thought he could run for President. Except, as I found out, he completely has the right to do so.

Though the constitution does state, at Article Two, Section One, that “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.” Seems easy enough, except that, according to Politifact, the Supreme Court has never ruled on it; making it “one of the most deceptively simple, complex issues” when it comes to Presidential eligibility.

Here’s how it works out in Cruz’ favor; his mother was a US citizen when he was born, while living in Canada as his father’s work called for the family to locate there for a time. Because the mother was still a US citizen, so did Ted Cruz become a US citizen at birth. The same argument came up for John McCain when he ran for President in 2008, as he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, and not on US soil. The same would have been done for Obama, had his mother been in Kenya for his birth (but remember, she was in Honolulu, Hawaii).

It also should be noted that, in 2008, when McCain ran, both Obama and then Senator Hillary Clinton were co-sponsors on a committee to ensure McCain was considered an eligible candidate, and that his natural residency was the United States.

I have quickly changed my mind; from a person quick to laugh off Cruz’ eligibility, to someone fearful of what that potentially means for the next group to run for office.

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