Is Ted Cruz Canadian? How To Renounce Citizenship And Why It Probably Won’t Quell The Controversy For Texas Senator

Cruz Ted 2013
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Reuters

Despite what Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz once believed, it’s a lot harder to renounce Canadian citizenship by just saying you’re an American because you live in the U.S. The Canadian-born senator must take certain steps to renounce his citizenship. Further, political analysts told USA Today that abandoning his Canadian nationality won’t help quell the controversy surrounding the Tea Party favorite.

“When I was a kid, my mom told me that I could choose to claim Canadian citizenship if I wanted,” he explained in an email, and added, “[Since] I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter.”

But as he’s about to find out, saying “no” to Canada will be much harder. Cruz, who was born on Dec. 22, 1970, in Calgary, Canada, to Eleanor Wilson of Wilmington, Del., and Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, of Cuba, is about to find out there are a few different steps he must take before he says goodbye to being a “Canunck” for good.

According to Reuters, the Texas Republican, who could be a possible presidential candidate for 2016, will become one of the few people who has given up Canadian citizenship. Last year, less than 200 people did so.

If people want to give up Canadian citizenship, they must prove they already are or will become a citizen of another country. They cannot be a security threat, nor can they live in Canada. Additionally, they must write an explanation as to why they don’t want to be Canadian any longer. It costs $100 Canadian dollars, according to Reuters.

"It's very, very uncommon ...  I've been practicing 26 years and I don't think I've ever seen anybody renounce it," Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann from Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell law firm told Reuters.

Cruz, 42, was wrong to figure he wasn’t a citizen of Canada since he never claimed it. Citizenship and Immigration Canada official Remi Lariviere told the news site, “Currently, under the Citizenship Act, children born in Canada are automatically Canadian citizens, unless they are born to foreign diplomats," he said. "In some situations, an individual may decide to renounce their Canadian citizenship." Like running in a foreign election, for instance.

But for Cruz, a written explanation and $100 bill won’t make all his troubles go away. Dante Scala, a political scientist at the University of New Hampshire, told USA Today the Republican senator will have to deal with a “nuisance factor.”

"If we learned anything from the allegations surrounding President Obama's citizenship, it's this: Facts may be stubborn things, but people's beliefs can be a lot more stubborn than the facts," Scala said. "Many people believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts, especially when it's about a public figure they do not like in the first place."

President Barak Obama was accused of not being an American citizen, and there are still a handful of Americans who hold that inaccuracy to be true. Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University, assumed Cruz will face the same issue.

"I am certain that the issue of dual citizenship, which was never an issue with Obama, will percolate through the GOP herd of potential presidential contenders because politics is hardball at best and a contact sport at worst," Schmidt said. "Any controversy such as birth and citizenship will be material for other Republicans aspiring to the White House to make hay with."

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