Ted Cruz Learned That He Is a Canadian Citizen From Reading the Dallas Morning News

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 19 2013 9:12 PM

Ted Cruz Discovered He's a Canadian Citizen From Reading the Dallas Morning News

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks about immigration during the DC March for Jobs in Upper Senate Park near Capitol Hill, on July 15, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Update: Looks like Ted Cruz has been convinced that he is in fact currently both an American and Canadian citizen. The Texas Republican announced late Monday that he'll take the necessary steps to drop his dual citizenship, news that comes roughly 24 hours after the Dallas Morning News made it clear that the Calgary-born Tea Party favorite technically had Canadian citizenship whether he knew it or not.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

"Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship," Cruz said in a statement published by the Washington Post. "Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American."

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Original Post at 9:23 a.m.: Canadian-born Ted Cruz is eligible to become the president of the United States. Born in Calgary to a mother who is a U.S. citizen, Cruz automatically became a "natural born Citizen," making him POTUS-eligible according to the vast majority of scholarly legal and historical opinion out there. Of course, we already know that the weight of such evidence isn't always enough to put such questions to rest. So, with that in mind, Cruz released his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News on Sunday, a move aimed at quieting such concerns but one that may have unintentionally raised another one for the Tea Party favorite.

Cruz is also a Canadian citizen, according to the Canadian law experts the Morning News spoke with. Under the Citizenship Act of 1947, anyone born in Canada is automatically granted citizenship at birth unless their parent was a foreign diplomat. (Cruz's parents were not.) Or, more simply, as University of Montreal law professor France Houle put it: "If a child was born in the territory, he is Canadian, period."

There's nothing in the U.S. Constitution that bars anyone with dual citizenship from becoming president, but the simple fact that Cruz could claim a Canadian passport or one day vote in a parliamentary election is unlikely to sit well with those who were already doing their best to dub him "Canadian Ted." Still, there appears to be an easy fix if Cruz wants one: He can formally renounce his Canadian citizenship by filling out a four-page form and paying $100.

Whether Cruz will do that, however, remains to be seen. As of Sunday night, his office claimed to be unaware that the Texas Republican is technically still a Canadian citizen. "Senator Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth, and he never had to go through a naturalization process after birth to become a U.S. citizen," spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the Morning News. "To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce."

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