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ON THE SUBJECT OF “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 11, 2016) — On Thursday, The Post & Email discovered that presidential candidate Ted Cruz launched a page on his campaign website devoted to providing what he called “the facts” on what he claims is his “natural born citizenship.”
Article II, Section 1, clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution requires the president to be at least 35 years old, have resided in the U.S. for 14 years or more, and be a “natural born Citizen.”
While many news outlets have reported that the Founders did not define the term, Cruz states on his website, as he has at campaign rallies when questioned, that “The law is straightforward. Under the Constitution, in order to be president, you must be a natural born citizen. U.S. law has been clear from the very first days of this country that the child of a U.S. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen.”
Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to a U.S.-citizen mother and Cuban-citizen father on December 22, 1970. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz reportedly became a Canadian citizen in 1973 after approximately five years of residence in the country. Cruz claims that his mother’s U.S. citizenship renders him a “natural born Citizen” regardless of his place of birth.
Some legal scholars agree and some disagree. The media has not elevated the question to a level of discussion among scholars and students of the Constitution.
Cruz was considered a Canadian citizen because of his birthplace but said he was unaware of it in 2013. However, the following May, he filed the necessary documents to renounce the citizenship, the process for which was completed the following month.
Presidential candidate Marco Rubio was born in the U.S. to parents who were not U.S. citizens at the time and also claims “natural born” status.
On Cruz’s web page dealing with the issue is a video of an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash questioning him on presidential candidate Donald Trump’s assertion that Cruz’s eligibility is not a settled matter and could be challenged in the courts beyond the 2016 election cycle. Cruz dismissed the claim and told Bash that, contrary to one of Trump’s statements on the matter, he had never possessed a Canadian passport.
Cruz’s U.S. Senate office told The Dallas Morning News in August 2013 that Cruz had obtained a U.S. passport for a high school trip in 1986, causing some to speculate that he was given “amnesty” as an illegal alien living in the country under a law signed by President Ronald Reagan that same year.
According to the same publication, Cruz’s mother was first married to Alan Wilson, and the couple moved to London, England to live and work. Eleanor Darragh Wilson reportedly returned to the U.S. following the death of her first child, an infant named Michael, in 1966. Alan Wilson reportedly told The Dallas Morning News that he was not the child’s father.
Having returned to Texas, Eleanor met Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, who she reportedly married in 1969. The couple went to Canada to work in the then-blossoming oil industry. A Breitbart report quotes the Cruz campaign as having stated that the couple moved to Canada in late 1967.
Under the video on his website, Cruz quoted from an article published approximately ten days prior to Cruz’s announcement that he would seek the presidency last March:
Despite the happenstance of a birth across the border, there is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a “natural born Citizen”
–Harvard Law Review
The article from which Cruz quoted was written by two former solicitors general, one who served under Obama and the other under George W. Bush and asserted that the Founders intended to include the term “natural born Citizen” to apply to anyone born in a foreign country to a citizen parent, citing the Naturalization Act of 1790, passed the year after the U.S. Constitution was ratified.
Authors Neal Katyal and Paul Clement did not state that that Act was repealed and replaced in 1795, with the reference to “natural born Citizens” removed.
No other law passed by Congress has referenced the term of art.
The Post & Email observed that “Harvard Law Review” was credited with the quote appearing directly under the video rather than Katyal and Clement. However, below the image of Cruz’s mother’s birth certificate, a certified copy of which The Post & Email received from the State of Delaware last month, Cruz stated, “A bipartisan group of former U.S. solicitors general, Neal Katayal [sic] and Paul Clement explained the legal case in the Harvard Law Review last year:” and quoted another passage from the article which began with “There are plenty of serious issues to debate in the upcoming presidential election cycle. The less time spent dealing with specious objections to candidate eligibility, the better. Fortunately, the Constitution is refreshingly clear on these eligibility issues.”
We contacted the Harvard Law Review by phone and were provided an email address for an individual who might be able to speak with the press.
On Thursday afternoon, we sent the following email to the contact person:
As I saw it, at first glance, it could appear that HLR endorses or even wrote the quoted statement, particularly if the reader goes no farther to see that Cruz attributes it to the two former solicitors general, not to the publication itself.
In your view, is the presentation misleading? Does the HLR, in fact, assert that Cruz is eligible to the presidency or take any position at all on the issue?
Thank you very much.
Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email
P.O. Box 113
Canterbury, CT 06331-0113
The following response was received within an hour:
The Harvard Law Review is proud to publish ideas advanced by a wide range of impressive scholars and practitioners. Those ideas are entirely the authors’ own and do not reflect the views of the Harvard Law Review as an institution.