Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; Depends on What You Mean by 'Natural Born'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FACT CHECK; Depends on What You Mean by 'Natural Born'

Article excerpt

Byline: Carole Fader

Times-Union readers want to know:

Sen. Ted Cruz last week declared he would seek the Republican nomination for president. Is he eligible to be president since he was born in Canada?

Cruz's birth certificate shows he was born in Calgary, Alberta, on Dec. 22, 1970.

And it is true that the U.S. Constitution requires a president to be a natural-born citizen:

"Article II, Section 1: 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 doesn't sound like he could be president, but, actually, he can - or at least it appears that he can.

Cruz was 4 years old when he came to the U.S., and he is a citizen by birth because his mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born.

As he told Fox News host Sean Hannity last week, it's been federal law for over two centuries that the child of an American citizen born abroad is a citizen by birth, a natural-born citizen.

But is he really considered natural born?

FactCheck.org researched opinions by legal scholars, who said that it's likely Cruz can be president.

In 2013, Sarah Helene Duggin, a Catholic University law professor, wrote: "There is a strong argument that anyone who acquires United States citizenship at birth, whether by virtue of the 14th Amendment or by operation of federal statute, qualifies as natural born."

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service reached a similar conclusion on Nov. 14, 2011, FactCheck.org found:

"The weight of legal and historical authority indicates that the term 'natural born' citizen would mean a person who is entitled to U.S. citizenship 'by birth' or 'at birth,' either by being born 'in' the United States and under its jurisdiction, even those born to alien parents; by being born abroad to U.S. citizen-parents; or by being born in other situations meeting legal requirements for U.S. …

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