- Conservatives Seek Defeat Of Budget Plan
- Bipartisan Negotiators Reach Modest Budget Pact
- Fight To Prove Conservative Purity Turns Into Smear Contest
- Teachers Give Lawmakers Failing Grades
- Wendy Davis Tax Returns Released
- Texas Lt. Gov. Candidate Van De Putte Makes It Official
- Officials: 6 Powers Reach Agreement On Iran Nuclear Deal
- Austin Council Votes Down Fast Food Ban
- In Four-Man Reelection Fight, Dewhurst Ad Attacks A Fifth
- Protestors Gather At UT For Immigration Reform
- Kennedy Tops List of Modern-day Presidents
- Conservative Group To Hold Mock Immigration Sting At UT
- Senator John Cornyn Could Face Tough Road
- Cornyn: United Republican Party Ready to Run
- Gov. Perry Blasts Obama For Health Care Law Change
- Future Of Austin's Political Geography Almost Set
- Davis and Abbott File For Governor
- Health Secretary Defends Health Care Law
- Voters Decide Fate Of Water Fund; Affordable Housing Bonds
- GOP Sen. Wants Health Care 'Time Out'
- VP Biden To Visit Austin
- Senators Bicker Over State Stand Your Ground Laws
- Growing Calls From The Right To Punish Sen. Cornyn
- Abbott: I'll Fight To Keep Texas Budget Small
- Wendy Davis Hits Cruz On Role In Shutdown
- San Marcos Voters Face Long Ballot
- Health Care Site Needs Dozens Of Fixes
- Cruz Appeals to Iowans, Burns Bridges In Nigeria
- Cornyn Calls For Republican Reset
- First Prayers, Now a Pilgrimage For Drought Relief
- Cruz Vows To Keep Fighting
- Early Voting Begins for November Elections
- Sen Cruz Addresses Texas Medical Association In Austin
- Obama Welcomes End To Standoff, Urges Congress To Change Its Ways
- Congress Sends Gov't Funding, Debt Bill To Obama
- Senate Votes To Reopen Gov't, Avoid Default
- Cruz Slams Senate, Lauds House On Debt-Limit Deal
- White House Praises Senate Last-Minute Budget Deal
- House To Vote Tuesday Night On Budget Bill
- House GOP Floats Alternative To Senate Shutdown Plan
- Perry Traveling To London, Israel
- Dewhurst Lands In National Headlines With Call To Impeach Obama
- Obama: Without Deal 'Good Chance Of Default'
- Popular Proposition Unites Strange Bedfellows
- Cruz Surges With Conservatives
- Texans Express Diverse Opnions About Senator Cruz
- Cruz Heckled During Washington, D.C. Speech
- House GOP, White House Seeking End To Budget Fight
- Congress Approves Benefits For Military Families
- Gov. Perry Calls On Texans To Approve Water Proposition
- Q&A: Is Government Shutdown Starting To Hit Home?
- Obama To Meet With Democratic And Republican Lawmakers
- Staples Hits Familiar Notes In First Campaign Ad
- Battleground Texas Beefs Up In Cowtown
- Obama Urges Boehner To Vote On Raising Debt Cap
- Second Woman Enters Race For Texas Governor
- Government Shutdown Impacting Federal Court System
- White House Open To Short-Term Hike In Debt Limit
- Veterans At Risk Of Not Getting Disability, Pension Benefits
- Democrat Wendy Davis Running For Texas Governor
- With A Year Left, Most Texans Still Undecided On Perry's Replacement
- Texas Democrats Need More Than Davis In 2014
- Wendy Davis For Governor Campaign Begins Slow Roll Out
- Perry Riding Into Maryland On Business-Rustling Raid
- Syria Plan Not Gaining Traction With Central TX Lawmakers
- Perry Weighs In On Missouri Tax Cut Veto
- Rick Perry Riles Up The Show-Me State
- Dewhurst Breaks Silence About Phone Call
- Attorney General Abbott Thanks Supporter Who Insulted Sen. Wendy Davis
- AG Abbott Thanks Tweeter Who Calls Sen Davis Offensive Names
- Pro-Immigration Supporters Try To Raise Awareness At Palmer Event Center
- Texplainer: Could Canadian-Born Ted Cruz Be President?
- Controversial Lesson Plans Stopped Temporarily
- Perry To Sign Sweeping Abortion Restrictions
- Abbott Wraps Up Campaign Tour In Austin Thursday
- George P. Bush Raised $2 Million For Texas Campaign
- Wendy Davis Raises Nearly $1 Million
- LIVE STREAM: AG Greg Abbott To Make "Major Announcement" Today At 1pm
- What's Next For Abortion Bill?
- Planned Parenthood Launches Statewide Tour
- Nearly 4,000 Give Testimonies On Abortion Restrictions
- Texas Abortion Committee Hearing Underway At Capitol
- Senate Abortion Bill Hearing, Pro-Life Rally Planned Monday
- Texas House Committee Moves Abortion Bill Forward
- House To Hold Abortion Bill Hearing Tuesday Afternoon
- Senate Panels Hear Roads, Juvenile Justice Bills
- Protesters Face Off At Capitol Over Abortion Bill
- Sen. Wendy Davis Ready To Stand Again
- Dewhurst Brings Obama Into Abortion Debate
- Texas Abortion Bill Fails After Challenge
- Hundreds Protest Outside Capitol During SB 5 Debate
- Gay Rights Supporters Erupt In Cheers Over Ruling
- Minute By Minute: How The Abortion Vote Happened
- Gov. Perry Calls 2nd Special Session
- Perry: Wendy Davis Didn't Learn From Own Example
- Gov. Perry Calls 2nd Special Session
- Why Was Abortion Vote Timestamp Changed?
- Gov. Perry To Sign Christmas Bill Into Law
- Gov. Perry Signs Texas High School Curriculum Overhaul Law
- Redistricting Hearings Today In Austin, Dallas
- Texas Lawmakers Take On Redistricting In Special Session
- Time Catching Up To State Legislature
- Patrick's Charter School Bill Faces Test in House
- House Democrats: GOP Shifting Deal On Texas Budget
- Waco Tea Party Says It Was Targeted By IRS
- Hundred Of Texas House Bills Dead At Least For Now
- President Obama Arrives In Austin
- Texan Files Suit Against Federal Health Reform
- Lawmakers Consider Online Domestic Violence Database
- Keeping Repeat DWI Offenders Behind Bars
- Perry Jokes About Lawmakers OKing Budget He Likes
- Plan to Expand Charter Schools Clears Senate
- GOP Plan Uses $6 Billion From Texas Rainy Day Fund
- School Voucher Bill Headed To Full Texas Senate
- Texas House Panel Debates Fetal Pain Bill
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry Makes Surprise Visit To Senate Hearing
- Budget Turns To Texas House After Passing Senate
- Texas Bills To Increase Penalty For Hit And Run Crashes
- Texas Lawmakers Asked To Give More Protection To Cell Phone Records
- Texas Legislative Committee Debates Lesser Punishment For Marijuana
- George P. Bush Formally Enters Race For Texas Land Commissioner
- Texas Senate Committee Finds Beer Compromise
- Texas Senate Consider Changes To School Testing
- UIL Private Schools Bill Advances In Texas Senate
- Gallup: Texas Sets Record For Uninsured Rate
- Jeb, George P. Bush To Speak At Dinner In Texas
- Perry Stands Firm on Rejecting Medicaid Expansion
- Texas Agriculture Commissioner Staples Publishes Border Security Book
- Texas Senate Chair Calls For Changes To Health Budget
- Families Testify At Capitol To Real Dangers Of Texting While Driving
- Texas Gov. Perry Proposes Returning Excess Taxes
- As Teachers Lobby, Civic Group Seeks Broad Reform
- Texas Tribune: Lawmaker Explorer
- 83rd Texas Legislature Begins
- New iPads For Texas Lawmakers Could Save Taxpayers Money
- President Obama In Hawaii, Fiscal Cliff Standoff Behind Him
- Congress Ushering In New Members With Old Divide
- Cruz To Be Sworn In As U.S. Senator
- George W. Bush Praises Immigrants As He Opens Immigration Conference
- House Minority Leader Pelosi, Other Women Lawmakers Find Reporter's Question Offensive
- High Court Weighs New Look At Voting Rights Law
- Schieffer: Debate Moderators Get Too Much Focus
- Recap Of Vice Presidential Debate
- Ryan Slams Biden on Libya
- Vice Presidential Candidates Take Stage In Debate Tonight
- Spain Quip Adds To Romney's Foreign Policy Trouble
- Obama Calls On Congress To Act On Tax Cut, Housing
- Officials Reject Conspiracies On Unemployment Rate
- Fact-Checking The Obama - Romney Presidential Debate
- Obama Says Romney Would Cut School Funding
- Romney Looking At Different Caps On Tax Breaks
- Obama, Romney Clash On Economy In First Debate
- First Presidential Debate Tonight
- AP Analysis: As The Race Stands, Obama Within Reach Of Second Term
- Ryan Campaigns In Miami, Biden In New Hampshire
- GOP's Ryan Courts Miami's Cuban-American Voters
- GOP Paints A Nation On Brink, Dems See Rebound
- Mitt Romney
- Reality Check: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Campaign Ad
- Romney Turns To Ohio Amid Series Of Distractions
- Romney Reaches Out To Women Before GOP Convention
- Austinites Sound Off On Record Low Congressional Approval Rating
- Romney Names Paul Ryan His No. 2
- For Two Texas Leaders, An Uncomfortable Homecoming
- Texans Cautious After Runoff Election
- Texas Tea Party Underdog Win Makes National Headlines
- Texas' Cruz Goes From Longshot To Easy Victory
- Texas Land Commissioner says he'll run for Lt. Gov. in 2014
- Texas GOP Chooses Tea Party-Backed Cruz For Senate
- Texas Runoff Election Gaining National Attention
- High Early-Vote Turnout Leaves Question Mark For Candidates
- GOP Runoff In District 25 A Scramble For Votes
- Reality Check: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Campaign Ad
- Early Voting Starts This Morning For Runoff Races
- Ted Cruz, David Dewhurst To Debate Monday
- It's Expected To Be Anything But Business As Usual In Austin For Presidential Visit
- Perry Makes First Campaign Trip For Romney
- GOP-Controlled House Votes To Repeal Health Law
- Dewhurst Talks Priorities
- Say What? White House Adds To Its Payroll
- Texas AG Abbott: Court Health Care Ruling Not A Total Loss
- Say What? U.S. Attorney General Could Be Held In Contempt Of Congress
- Two Different Parties, Two Very Different Moods
- Ted Cruz Camp: David Dewhurst Stonewalling on Debates
- David Dewhurst Addresses GOP Convention Without Boos
- Rick Perry's David Dewhurst Nod Sparks Boos At GOP Convention
- Austin Mayor Wants To Postpone Urban Rail Bond Election
- Texas Gov. Perry Doubles Down On Dewhurst In US Senate Race
- Texas Primary Turnout Was Low, Runoff May Be Lower
- Lloyd Doggett Wins Primary Handily
- Dewhurst, Cruz Head To GOP runoff For Texas Senate
- Jana Duty Defeats John Bradley In Williamson Co. DA Race
- 2 Head To Runoff For GOP Nod To Replace Doggett
- Miller Advances To Runoff In Board Of Ed Race
- Mitt Romney Clinches GOP Nomination With Texas Win
- More Than 13M Texans Have Registered To Vote
- May 29 Primary Election: What's On The Ballot
- May 29 Primary Election: Polling Places
- Tomorrow Is Primary Election Day
- Primary Early Voting Ends Today
- May 29 Primary Election: Early Voting Locations
- Can Undecided Voters Sway The Election?
- State Sen. Wentworth Files Defamation Suit Against Challenger Jones
- KEYE TV To Survey Citizens About Election
- Dewhurst, Perry Vote In Primary Election
- Surging Hispanic Population A Growing Political Force
- Ron Paul: 'We will no longer spend resources'
- Early Voting Begins, Turnout Critical In Races
- Austin Reelects Mayor, 3 Council Members
- Total Voter Turnout Projected at 10% in Travis County
- Romney Urges Graduates to Honor Commitments to Family
- Voters Go To Polls In City/School District Election Saturday
- Anita Perry Joining Ann Romney at Austin Fundraiser
- Sarah Palin Endorses Ted Cruz In Texas Senate Race
- Austin Mayoral Candidate Interview: Lee Leffingwell
- Austin Mayoral Candidate Interview: Clay DaFoe
- Austin Mayoral Candidate Interview: Brigid Shea
- Austin Mayor Candidate: Brigid Shea
- Austin Mayor Candidate: Lee Leffingwell
- Austin Mayor Candidate: Clay Dafoe
- Gov. Rick Perry Interested In Running For President Again
- Gov. Perry To Texas Lawmakers: No New Taxes, Or Increases
- Ron Paul Texas Tour Rolls On
- Rick Santorum Suspends GOP Presidential Campaign
- GOP Voters in Wisconsin, Maryland, DC Go To Polls
- Former President GHW Bush Backs Romney In GOP Race
- George H.W. Bush To Formally Back Mitt Romney
- Romney's Y'all Turns Into You All
- GOP Candidates Refuse To Quit Race
- President Obama Unveils New Documentary Of First Term
- Santorum Wins Deep South; Romney Wins Hawaii
- Voters In The South Head To Polls
- GOP Candidates Eye The South
- Super Tuesday; Super Wins For Candidates
- "Joe The Plumber" On November Ballot
- Voters Hit The Polls For Super Tuesday
- Candidates Set For Austin Mayor, Council Elections
- GOP Candidates Campaign For Super Tuesday
- Federal Court Orders May 29 Primary Date For Texas
- Minority groups: New Texas voting maps 'devastate'
- Romney Wins Arizona And Michigan
- Redistricting Maps By Saturday Or Elections In June
- Santorum Holds Austin Fundraiser
- Governor's Plan to Run Could Impede Attorney General
- Judges Want Texas Maps In Time For April Primaries
- Sports And The Texas Redistricting Battle
- Water Conservation Ideas Offered For Texas Legislature
- Perry gives tainted campaign donations to charity
- Texas Gov. Perry Blasts Obama At Conservative Conference
- Santorum wins Minnesota, Missouri GOP votes
- Democrat Gibson drops out of Texas US senate race
- Mitt Romney wins big in Florida, routing Gingrich
- Composer Sues To Stop Gingrich Use Of 'Eye Of The Tiger'
- Democrats Try Again To Break The GOP Hold On Texas
- Attorney: Texas redistricting talks have stalled
- Candidates Cool Heels While Judges Decide Redistricting
- Testimony concludes in Texas redistricting trial
- Judge skeptical of Texas redistricting aide's testimony
- President Obama speech puts him in campaign arena
- Judges move up Texas redistricting arguments
- State rep asks Gov. Perry to repay Texans for GOP primary expenses
- Court throws out judge-drawn Texas electoral maps
- Texas Gov. Rick Perry drops bid for GOP presidential nomination, endorses Gingrich
- Texas continues case for keeping district map
- Republican candidates stump hard ahead of SC primary
- Texas defends redistricting map at federal hearing
- In the super PAC era, do handshakes even matter?
- GOP pack is trying to stop Mitt Romney before it's too late
- Jon Huntsman quits presidential race
- Texas Gov. Perry appeals judge's ruling on Va. primary ballot
- Texas Sen. Cornyn to speak on 'Washington's overreach'
- Perry in South Carolina: Will It End Where It Began?
- Appeals court says Texas can enforce abortion law
Texplainer: Could Canadian-Born Ted Cruz Be President?
Updated: Wednesday, August 14 2013, 11:45 AM CDT
by John Wayne Ferguson, Texas Tribune
Hey, Texplainer: Ted Cruz is so hot right now, some people are saying he could run for president. But Cruz wasn’t born in the U.S., so how does that affect his ability to run for the highest office?
Since Ted Cruz won the Republication nomination for U.S. Senate on July 31, columns have been written about Cruz as a potential presidential candidate in 2016 or beyond — and whether the circumstances of his birth may preclude him from some day running for the highest office.
Cruz was born in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970. He is the son of a Cuban-immigrant father and an Irish-American mother from Delaware. At the time of his birth, Cruz's parents were in Canada working in the oil industry. Both of his parents attended college in Texas and returned here around the time Cruz was 4 years old.
In some ways, Cruz’s story is similar to that of the two candidates who ran for president in 2008, Barack Obama and John McCain.
Both Cruz and Obama are the sons of American mothers and immigrant fathers. Like McCain, Cruz was born outside of the United States. (McCain was born in the unincorporated Panama Canal Zone in 1936.)
And, like some people are already doing with Cruz, both Obama and McCain had their eligibility for president questioned.
As with those candidates, constitutional experts say that there could be a candidate Cruz.
"He almost certainly was a citizen at birth. I think that he would be eligible for the presidency," said Peter Spiro, a professor of constitutional law at Temple University.
What does the law say?
Article 2 of the Constitution lays out the three minimum requirements for a person to be the president of the United States.
"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."
Cruz is 41 years old, and has been a Texas resident for well over 14 years. The sticking point, says Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, comes from what the definition of a “natural born citizen” is, and whether Cruz’s Canadian birthplace is addressed by the law.
"Natural born citizenship is not defined in the Constitution," Rottinghaus said. "The reason they didn’t is not totally clear."
Rottinghaus said that the writers probably meant to include both people born on U.S. soil and those born to citizens, but ultimately left the decision to be made by the states.
The Naturalization Act of 1790, passed by the First Congress, reads that any person "born beyond the sea or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens."
Citizenship was not directly addressed in the Constitution until the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868. Its first sentence reads, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States."
A naturalized citizen is a citizen who was not a U.S. citizen at birth but later becomes one. Scholars generally agree that a naturalized citizen, such as an immigrant, could not be elected president. The 14th Amendment, however, does not define what is considered a "natural-born citizen."
The Nationality Act of 1940 outlined which children became "nationals and citizens of the United States at birth." The law stated that a person is a U.S. citizen if he or she were born in United States; born outside the U.S. to parents who were both citizens; found in the United States without parents and no proof of birth elsewhere; or if a person has been born to one American parent, provided that parent has spent a certain number of years in the United States.
The single-American parent requirement has been amended a few times, said UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh. As it applies to people born between 1952 and 1986, they must have a parent who was a U.S. citizen for at least 10 years, including five after the age of 14, in order for the baby to be considered a natural-born citizen.
(Note: Volokh calls himself a friend of Cruz and has known him since the 1990s*. However, Volokh also made the same conclusion about eligibility in 2008, when writing about Barack Obama.)
So how does all of this apply to Ted Cruz?
Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, came to the U.S. in 1957 to study at the University of Texas. He did not become a U.S. citizen until 2005.
Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Darragh, was born in Delaware and later moved to Houston. She graduated from Rice University in 1956. By virtue of being born in the United States, she is a citizen. Because she spent most of her life before Ted Cruz was born in the U.S., he also qualified as U.S. citizen at birth.
"Ted Cruz didn’t naturalize. He was natural at birth," said Spiro, the Temple professor
Spiro said it’s possible that a person could challenge that the laws granting citizenship at birth do not define what it is to be a natural-born citizen. In fact, the phrase “natural-born citizen” is only used once in the U.S. Code — in Article 2 of the Constitution. Such a challenge would be unlikely to change the current definitions, however, he said.
What about those other guys?
Cruz’s situation probably falls somewhere between Obama and McCain in terms of how complicated they are to explain.
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, two years after Hawaii became a state. His citizenship is spelled out by the 14th Amendment.
Cruz was born outside the U.S., but according to rules set out by the U.S. Code, he was a U.S. citizen from birth.
McCain was born outside the U.S., but not in another country — the Panama Canal Zone was an unincorporated U.S. territory in 1936. Legal theories differ on how that affected his eligibility. McCain was also born before laws were passed granting citizenship at birth to babies born in the Panama Canal Zone.
For what it's worth, Congress in 2008 passed a nonbinding resolution declaring that McCain was eligible to run for president, and a lawsuit challenging McCain’s eligibility in 2008 filed New Hampshire was thrown out for lack of standing.
Bottom line: Despite being born in Canada, Cruz can be considered a natural-born U.S. citizen because his mother was also a U.S. citizen who lived in the United States long enough for him to qualify, according to constitutional experts.
*An earlier version of this story said that Eugene Volokh and Ted Cruz were college classmates. They were not. They have known each other since the 1990s.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2012/08/13/texplainer-could-canadian-born-ted-cruz-be-preside/.