Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Dec. 31, 1970 to an American mother and a Cuban father -- making him officially a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen.
This was, apparently, a surprise to the junior senator from Texas, who said he had always considered himself a natural born American thanks to his mother's U.S. 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,” said spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. “To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship.”
Still, Cruz acted quickly, announcing he would officially renounce his Canadian citizenship.
“Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter,” Cruz said in a statement.
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship,” Cruz said. “Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American.”
While the Constitution says nothing specifically about the eligibility of dual citizens for office, a potential run at the presidency in 2016 has Cruz on the defensive as the issue of his birth has left him vulnerable to birthers, who claimed President Barack Obama was not born a U.S. citizen.
Although Obama has produced his birth certificate from the state of Hawaii, and his mother was a U.S. citizen, "birthers" continue to doubt his presidential eligibility.
Article II of the Constitution, dealing with the Executive Branch reads:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
It does not define "natural born citizen," but legal scholars have taken it to mean anyone entitled to citizenship "by birth" or "at birth," either by being born in the United States or under its jurisdiction, or by being born to U.S. citizen parents.