Senator Ted Cruz, still Canadian
- 7 January 2014
In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that US Senator Ted Cruz was, by having been born in Calgary, a Canadian citizen.
The story was good for a few laughs, and Mr Cruz quickly announced that he would renounce his Canadian citizenship.
"Nothing against Canada, but I'm an American by birth, and as a US senator I believe I should be only an American," he said in a statement.
Fast forward nearly five months, and Mr Cruz is still a Canadian in good standing.
"I have retained counsel that is preparing the paperwork to renounce the citizenship," he told the Dallas paper.
All this has Canadians scratching their heads.
Lee-Anne Goodman of the Canadian Press interviewed several experts in Canadian immigration law, and one said that barring "a security issue" or a "mental health issue that hasn't been disclosed", the process should be fairly simple - although there could be some tax concerns.
"If he's attempting to bring our system into disrepute by suggesting it's lengthy and complex, it's just not true," says immigration lawyer Richard Kurland. "Revocation is one of the fastest processes in our system."
Goodman notes: "There's even an online, four-page PDF form on the Government of Canada website to get the ball rolling without the help of lawyers."
Cue another round of jokes.
"Listen, if you want to forfeit your right to a Canadian passport, and distance yourself from this land of socialized medicine, gay marriage and gun control, we understand," write the editors of the Globe and Mail. "But, future former citizen, what's the hold-up?"
Kelly McParland writes in the National Post: "Ted Cruz is an American caught in the talons of Canadian citizenship. We need to set him free."
Dianna Wray blogs for the Houston Press that embracing his Canadian heritage could help improve Mr Cruz's image. "Of course we shouldn't live by stereotypes," she writes, "but it is a truth universally acknowledged that Canadians are polite, tolerant, civic-minded and pretty darn friendly."
In the Globe and Mail, Gerry Flahive warns Mr Cruz: "When you come crawling back on your hands and knees, as you inevitably will, and beg us, BEG US, to let you back in, please use the 'Renounced Citizenship But Have Nothing To Declare' line at Canadian airports."
This may not be a joking matter, however, as Mr Cruz relies on the support of conservative Americans who are serious about patriotism and probably don't take too kindly to politicians with dual loyalties, even if they're only on paper.
"Cruz counts Tea Party voters as an important part of his political base," writes Wayne Slater for the Dallas Morning News. "But many GOP Tea Party enthusiasts have accused President Barack Obama of being born in Kenya - his father was Kenyan, his mother American - and therefore insist he's not legally an American citizen."
Writes McParland: "Shedding his Canadian skin would help Mr Cruz demonstrate his red blooded American-ness, just in case anyone in the party started questioning his heritage too."
There is one more possible stumbling block for Mr Cruz, but it's not on the Canadian end. As explained by Steven Lubet in Salon back in September, in order to renounce his Canadian citizenship, he has to establish he is a US citizen. According to US rules, to do that Mr Cruz needs to present proof that his mother Eleanor, who was born in Delaware, was "physically present" in the US for a total of 10 years before his birth.
"The only definitive way to prove Eleanor Cruz's 10 years of physical presence would be with documents such as leases, school registration, utility bills or tax records," Lubet writes. "It would be pretty embarrassing to have his Application to Renounce Canadian Citizenship denied on a technicality."
The paperwork may be hard to come by, but if Mr Cruz decides to enter what will surely be a rough-and-tumble Republican primary for the 2016 presidential nomination, I doubt he will want to have to answer any more questions about his allegiances to the maple leaf of the north. Then again, he may have no choice.
"Renounce all you want, Senator," writes Michelle Cottle in the Daily Beast. "If there's one thing we learned from the Obama birthers, it's that official documents don't mean squat in the face of a really nutty conspiracy theory."