Ted Cruz should say “No, Canada” [Update]

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Birther nonsense forced Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas [by way of Canada]) to release his birth certificate today. As we all know, the Lone Star freshman was born in Calgary, Alberta. But way too many people fail to accept the fact that because Cruz was born to an American mother, he automatically became an American citizen at birth.

This is not to be confused with the racist birther nonsense that consumed President Obama’s first term. Even though Obama was born in Hawaii (the 50th state in the union), folks were convinced that he was born in Kenya, the birthplace of his father. And they conveniently ignored that Obama’s mother was American. So, even if he had been born in Kenya (which he was not), Obama still would be an American citizen. Nevertheless, some folks are still convinced that he’s illegally occupying the Oval Office. But I digress. …

Cruz didn’t have to release his birth certificate. That he did shows the staying power of the birther movement. But his Canadian birth raises another interesting issue. Like the United States, our neighbors to the north dictate that anyone born in Canada is automatically a Canadian citizen. So Cruz has dual citizenship. If he wants to be president of the United States, which is as plainly apparent as a cloud in the sky, he should renounce his Canadian citizenship.

“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,” Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the Dallas Morning News. “To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce.” As we now know, that’s not true.

Legally, Cruz can do whatever he wants. The Constitution is silent on whether dual citizenship is a no-no for the American president. But if Cruz wants to be president of the United States, he should renounce his Canadian citizenship. Personally, I have no problem with dual citizenship. But the allegiance of my president should be unwavering. And I have no other reason to say this other than it just wouldn’t look right.

Follow Jonathan Capehart on Twitter.

[Update, 11 p.m.: Sen. Cruz announced tonight that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship. “Nothing against Canada," he said in a statement, "but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator; I believe I should be only an American.”]

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.
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