WASHINGTON — Alberta-born Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has given up his Canadian dual citizenship. The renunciation became official on May 14, roughly 9 months after he learned he wasn’t only an American.
Cruz received notification by mail on Tuesday at his home in Houston.
“He’s pleased to receive the notification and glad to have this process finalized,” said spokeswoman Catherine Frazier.
Cruz’s birth in Canada was never a secret. But it proved a political liability, with detractors taunting him as “Canadian Ted” and critics suggesting that his birthplace made him ineligible to run for president.
The dual citizenship came as a surprise to Cruz and his parents when The Dallas Morning News reported on it last August.
The senator provided a copy of his Canadian birth certificate at the time. He vowed almost immediately to shed his Canadian citizenship, and promised to tell The News first as soon as he succeeded.
“Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American,” he said the day of the initial report.
Canadian law is similar to that in the United States. Citizenship is automatic for nearly everyone born on the country’s soil, whether that person wants it or not, and without any need to request it. In theory, Cruz could have asserted the right to vote in Canada, or even to run for Parliament, and he could have received a Canadian passport.
Under U.S. law, a foreign-born baby is entitled to American citizenship if at least one parent is an American. That was the case for Cruz — and it’s a crucial point if he makes a White House run in 2016, as is widely expected.
The U.S. Constitution requires a president to be a “natural born” citizen. The popular understanding has long been that this means being born on American soil. But Cruz was entitled to American citizenship at birth. Because of that, a strong legal consensus has emerged that Cruz is, in fact, eligible.
That’s something the tea party senator has in common with President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan but whose mother was from Kansas. So-called “birthers” have proposed that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. But even if true, he would have been an American at birth.
In December, Cruz said he had hired lawyers to assist in the effort to renounce his Canadian citizenship.
When he was born on Dec. 22, 1970, his parents were living in the Canadian oil patch in Calgary. His mother is a native-born American. His father, a Cuban émigré who later became a naturalized American, was still a Cuban citizen.
Cruz has said that when he was a child, his mother had told him she would have had to make an affirmative act to claim Canadian citizenship for him. Since that never happened, the family always had assumed that he did not hold Canadian citizenship.