Q&A on the News

Q: If Ted Cruz was born in Canada, how is he eligible to be president?

—Anne Hansen, Atlanta

A: Even though he was born in Calgary, Alberta, Cruz’s mother, Eleanor, is an American citizen, which makes him a natural born citizen, many constitutional scholars say.

“It would be reasonable to interpret the Constitution’s natural born citizenship provision to include children born abroad to U.S. citizens, including Sen. Cruz, for a number of reasons,” Sarah H. Duggin, a law professor at Catholic University, told PolitiFact.com in 2013.

Cruz isn’t the first presidential candidate to be at the center of this debate.

John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, was born to American parents in the Panama Canal Zone.

George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, was in the running for the Republican nomination in 1968, before dropping out. He was born in Mexico to American parents.

Cruz and his family moved to Texas when he was 4 years old, but Canada automatically gives citizenship to anyone born on its soil. Because of that, he was technically a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States – which he was unaware until it was brought to his attention in 2013.

Cruz officially renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2014.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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