A: The Constitution requires one to be a natural born citizen to
serve as president. Sen Cruz is a citizen, but is not a "natural
Q: What is required for one to be a "natural born citizen"?
A: One must have been born on U.S. soil. Cruz was born in Canada, on
Canadian soil. The two countries don't share any soil.
Q: Cruz argues that the law makes him a citizen at birth, and that
is a "natural born" citizen.
A: There is a law that makes one born on foreign soil to a U.S.
citizen a U.S. citizen, but that is a naturalization statute.
Q: Doesn't naturalization require an application and approval
A: No. An entire group of individuals may be made statutory citizens
at birth, without having to apply for it.
Q: Isn't a statutory citizen at birth the same as a "natural born
A: No. There are only two kinds of citizen: natural born and
naturalized. One can't be both. Anyone who is not natural born is
Q: What are are come examples of large groups of people naturalized
at birth by a statute?
A: Citizens of the territories of Puerto Rico, the Marianas
(Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands) and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
These are not U.S. soil. They are protectorates. We administer them
but don't own them. No one born on them is a natural born citizen.
There are naturalization statutes that makes persons born there
citizens at birth. See Insular
Q: What about the Panama Canal Zone?
A: It was a leasehold. We leased it from Panama, on a 99-year lease.
When we could not negotiate an extension, we had to give it back,
Q: What about the grounds of our embassies in foreign countries, or
our military bases?
A: All leased. The land is not "incorporated" U.S. soil.
Q: So Sen. John McCain is not eligible?
A: Correct. He is not.
Q: Where does the term "Natural born citizen" come from? What did it
A: It is taken from the 1608 Calvin's Case, authored by
Q: Why do we have to go all the way back to 1608 to get the
A: Because there haven't been any later cases, such as U.S. Supreme
Court cases, that did. On this point one is going to have to trust
legal historians to have done their jobs. Legal terms of art, once
established generally do not change, even if they are not used for
centuries. "Natural born" is a term from English common law. It
actually goes back even further than 1608, which was about the time
that court proceedings, which had been done in Latin, began to the
be done in English. The term goes back to ancient Roman law, usually
as natus naturalis, or some variant thereof. "Natural born"
was just a translation from the Latin.
Q: Aren't there some definitions that require both born on the soil
and also having at least one citizen parent?
A: That is a combination of the rules of jus soli and jus
sanguinis. There is actually a long legal tradition for this.
But it was not the meaning taken from Calvin's Case by the
Q: What about the 14th Amendment?
A: The 14th Amendment follows closely the definition from Calvin's
Case., except that it made an exception of unassimilated
indigenes (Indians). Later a statute would naturalize them all as
U.S. citizens, and make their lands U.S. soil.
Q: What about registration of him having been born abroad?
A: Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on
December 22, 1970 and remained a Canadian citizen until he
officially renounced it on May 14, 2014, eighteen months after
taking the oath of office as a U.S. Senator. At the time of his
birth, Cruz’s father was a citizen of Canada and his mother was a
Legally, Cruz could have obtained US citizenship through his mother
consistent with Public Law 414, June 27, 1952, An Act: To revise the
laws relating to immigration, naturalization, and nationality and
for other purposes [H.R. 5678], Title III Nationality and
Naturalization, Chapter 1 – Nationality at Birth and by Collective
naturalization; Nationals and citizens of the United States at
birth; the relevant section being 301 (a) (7):
“a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States
and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and
the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of
such person, was physically present in the United States or its
outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than
ten years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of
fourteen years: Provided That any periods of honorable service in
the Armed Forces of the United States by such citizen parent may be
included in computing the physical presence requirements of this
In that case, Cruz’s mother should have filed a Consular Report of
Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America (CRBA)
with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate after the birth to
document that the child was a U.S. citizen.
According to Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier, Cruz’s mother did
register his birth with the U.S. consulate and Cruz received a U.S.
passport in 1986 ahead of a high school trip to England.
There are two apparent contradictions regarding how and when Ted
Cruz obtained US citizenship.
First, according to the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946, also
referred to as the “Act of 1947,” Canada did not allow dual
citizenship in 1970. The parents would have had to choose at that
time between U.S. and Canadian citizenship. Ted Cruz did not
renounce his Canadian citizenship until 2014. Was that the choice
Second, no CRBA has been released that would verify that Ted Cruz
was registered as a U.S. citizen at birth.
It has been reported that the then nearly four-year-old Ted Cruz
flew to the U.S. from Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1974.
Ted Cruz could not have entered the U.S. legally without a CRBA or a
U.S. passport, the latter of which was not obtained until 1986.
If Ted Cruz was registered as a U.S. citizen at birth, as his
spokeswoman claims, then the CRBA must be released. Otherwise, one
could conclude that Cruz came to the U.S. as a Canadian citizen,
perhaps on a tourist visa or, possibly, remained in the U.S. as an
It is the responsibility of the candidate for the Presidency, not
ordinary citizens, to prove that he or she is eligible for the
highest office in the land. Voters deserve clarification.
Even assuming a CRBA was filed, the weight of the legal evidence
indicates that Ted Cruz is a naturalized U.S. citizen because he was
born outside of the jurisdiction of the U.S. and obtained U.S.
citizenship by an Act of Congress (Article 1 Section 8 of the
Constitution). As a naturalized citizen, he is not eligible for the
Presidency (Article 2 Section 1 Clause 5 of the Constitution).
Is Ted Cruz Eligible for the Presidency? , Bryan A.
Garner, The Atlantic, Jan. 14, 2016. Concludes that
under an originalist interpretation of the Constitution, Cruz is
not eligible, but under current doctrine, the Supreme Court
would probably hold that he is.