Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has announced that he is taking steps to renounce the Canadian citizenship that seems to have been attached to him when he was born in Calgary, Alberta 43 years ago (last Sunday).
Cruz claimed that he was unaware of his dual citizenship until The Dallas Morning News helpfully informed him back in August, according to the newspaper. He noted that his mother had told him she believed someone would have to undertake an affirmative bureaucratic act for the young Cruz to possess Canadian citizenship. No one in the Cruz family undertook this act.
Whatever the case, the Republican has been working to rid himself of his second nationality.
“I have retained counsel that is preparing the paperwork to renounce the citizenship,” he told the Morning News.
He said he expects the process to be complete in 2014.
“At this point,” he added, he doesn’t disagree that he is currently a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada.
The junior Senator from Texas has a wonderfully fascinating family history. His father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, was born in 1939 in Cuba. After fighting in the revolution when he was 14 years old (on the side of Fidel Castro), he later fled Castro’s oppressive regime. He landed in Austin and studied math at the University of Texas, despite knowing little English. He earned a living washing dishes. Today, the elder Cruz is a pastor at a church in suburban Dallas. He became a naturalized citizen in 2005.
Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson Darragh, Cruz’s mother, is of Irish and Italian descent. She has a math degree from Rice University.
Cruz’s parents were working in the oil business in Calgary when Cruz was born.
The Texas senator swore his renunciation of Canadian citizenship doesn’t involve politics.
“My political perspective is focused on representing the state of Texas,” he told the Morning News.
Cruz isn’t the first politician to address questions about his birth, of course.
Citizenship questions dogged President Barack Obama for many years — and they still do, but it hardly matters anymore.
A number of people including, for example, perennially possible presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and real estate magnate Donald Trump, have famously questioned Obama’s citizenship and, therefore, his eligibility to run for president. (RELATED: Huckabee questions Obama birth certificate)
The U.S. Constitution requires that the president be a natural-born citizen of the United States. The requirement was intended to protect the nation from foreign influence. The Constitution does not define what “natural born” means, however, and the issue has not been sufficiently litigated or legislated to create a settled meaning.