Calgary-born U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz received official notice Tuesday that he had successfully renounced his citizenship from Canada.
“Being a U.S. Senator representing Texas, it makes sense he should be only an American citizen,” spokeswoman Catherine Frazier said in an email to The Associated Press.
A letter addressed to Cruz, R-Texas, from the Canadian government said he had “formally renounced Canadian citizenship and pursuant to the Citizenship Act [ceased] to be a citizen” on May 14.
Cruz, 43, was born to an American mother and a Cuban father in Calgary, Alberta. The potential Republican presidential candidate automatically became a U.S. citizen at birth, but under Canadian citizenship laws, he also became a citizen of the Great White North, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Cruz reportedly was surprised to discover that he maintained dual citizenship when The Dallas Morning News broached the issue in August 2013.
“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 at the time, according to CNN.
Cruz promised to renounce his citizenship and eventually hired an immigration attorney, according to the AP. “Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth, and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American,” Cruz said last year, according to
Cruz has only been in office for about a year and a half, but the tea party-backed senator has performed well in a series of straw polls, including at the Republican Leadership Conference this year and at the Values Voter Summit in 2013. He placed second in the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference's straw poll to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
But can Cruz make a run at the Oval Office as a Canadian-born American? The U.S. Constitution mandates that “no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States" is eligible to be president.
“The problem is, no one knows what a natural born citizen is,” Gabriel Chin, University of California, Davis School of Law professor, told Politico last year.
Cruz, a former appellate lawyer and Harvard Law School graduate, has maintained his U.S. citizenship’s validity.
“Ted is a U.S. citizen by birth, having been born in Calgary to an American-born mother,” said spokesman Sean Rushton, according to Politico.
Even if Cruz is constitutionally eligible to run for president, it is likely an issue that will continue to dog him. Ask President Barack Obama, who in 2008 released his Hawaiian birth certificate in response to claims that he was not a natural born citizen. Obama’s father was Kenyan, but his mother was American, according to CBS News.
There's also Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., whose 2008 presidential candidacy was called into question. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, according to NBC News. Though Congress has noted that anyone born in that region to U.S. parents is automatically considered a U.S. citizen, the “natural born” stipulation provided by the Constitution cast a shadow of doubt.
Though McCain did not win the 2008 election over Obama, he was still able to run a legally-valid campaign.