Stephen W. Browne | Rants and Raves

Jan/16

21

Ted Cruz and my son have the same problem

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.
– Constitution of the United States: Article 2, Section 1

My son and Ted Cruz have the same problem, nobody really knows if they can be president.

Well that and the fact that it’ll be another 21 years before my son fulfills the age requirement.

“Does that mean it’ll be 21 years before I can drink beer?” he asked anxiously.

Ted Cruz was born in Alberta, Canada, to an American mother and a Cuban father. My son was born in Warsaw, Poland, to an American father (moi) and a Polish mother.

And suddenly all of the “Birther” stuff that was airily dismissed under the administration of Barack Obama is urgently relevant again.

Cruz had dual citizenship until 2014, when he officially renounced his Canadian citizenship.

My son still has dual citizenship and has had two passports since his birth.

When we took my son’s Polish birth certificate to the American Embassy in Warsaw the nice man at the passport division gave us the lecture explaining everything. There is a canned lecture because it happens more often than you might think.

“We don’t like dual citizenship,” he said. “We recognize that it happens. What it amounts to is he has to enter Poland on his Polish passport. He has to enter the United States on his American passport. Everywhere else he can chose the cheaper visa. When he comes of draft age, if the country he’s in has conscription – they’ve got him. And if he gets arrested in one of his countries of citizenship, the other can do nothing.”

Note there was not a word about whether he can be president someday.

This is what I argued about with Birthers who claimed Obama was really born in Kenya and nefarious plotters, thinking he might want to run for president arranged to have birth announcements placed in the Honolulu newspapers.

It’s doesn’t matter where he was born! The child of an American citizen is an American citizen.

The question about Barack Obama is, has he ever claimed dual citizenship or had it claimed on his behalf by his notoriously America-hating mother? Has he ever traveled on a foreign passport? And is that legally equivalent to renouncing American citizenship?

Well in the case of Ted Cruz (and my son) there is no doubt and now we cannot duck the issue.

A brief perusal of the Wikipedia entry “Multiple Citizenship” confirms what I suspected. The issue did not even arise at the time of the framing of the Constitution. America recognized that one can become a citizen by naturalization, and evidently almost nobody else. An issue which led to the War of 1812, when England refused to acknowledge that American seamen were no longer subjects of the Crown.

Dual citizenship may not have existed at the time, so this is a new issue the Founders did not anticipate.

Some say this should be settled in the Supreme Court. I think it’ll probably just be ignored. At least if and until Cruz wins the nomination.

In my son’s case I have to chuckle, because I think it was the example of Poland that caused the Founders to include the native born qualification for the presidency.

At the time of the framing of the Constitution, Poland had an elective monarchy and the electors had a preference for foreigners because the great magnates were so jealous of each other’s power they preferred to look elsewhere for their kings.

This was one of the things that led to Poland being partitioned among Prussia, Austria, and Russia and wiped off the map for 135 years.

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1 comment

  • Anoop Verma · January 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Good article. It touches upon a subject that is becoming more and more pertinent..

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