Can Ted Cruz actually run for President under American law as it stands? The honest answer is maybe.
First, let us look at the facts of the matter. Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. The Constitution states that only “natural born citizens” can apply for the job of President. However, neither the Constitution nor the existing Code of the US clearly define who is and who isn’t a “natural born” citizen. In order to find out more, we must do some digging into history.
When the Constitution was drafted in 1787, the framers did not clearly define what they meant by “natural born citizen”. Most of the framers believed you were an American by choice and not by descent, holding consistent the idea of Lockean natural rights. Moreover, this seemed sufficient at a time when people were judged on their moral aptitude and many people were still happy to call themselves loyal subjects to the crown. If you were to call yourself an American, you were more or less accepted, especially because we needed more members of the team.
This meant that the only distinction between a naturalized citizen and a natural born citizen was their ability to hold office as president. The Naturalization Act of 1790 specifically referred to children of US citizens born abroad as “natural born citizens”. This was the only statute to ever use the term ”natural born”. Only 5 years later in 1795, anti-immigrant fervor began to grow. The Naturalization Act of 1795 repealed and replaced the Naturalization Act of 1790 and changed drastically, because a child born abroad to American parents was now given the status merely as a “naturalized citizen” rather than a “natural born citizen”.
The question remains. Why would the words “natural born” be taken out? Was this on purpose? Or was it a mere mistake of the drafters of the Naturalization Act of 1795? Since this is a federal question, this can only be legally resolved in a federal court. A question of this magnitude needs to be litigated, researched and answered; not shrugged off as some deranged ploy for attention by Ted Cruz haters.
To keep things in perspective, if you support Ted Cruz and believe he should be allowed to run for President with no questions asked, I have a few questions for you. Would you feel the same about a Syrian child born to immigrant American parents, but raised by extended family in the Middle East? Or a child born to Russian immigrants to the US but raised in the Soviet Union? Or a child born to Italian immigrant parents but raised in Fascist Italy?
Were these the things the framers meant to protect against? And shouldn’t the law be applied consistently?
Until the federal courts resolve this, there is no way of us knowing the correct interpretation of the law and whether or not Cruz is permitted to be President of the United States.
The question must be answered.