UPDATED 8/20/2013 at 8:30 a.m. - After a day of news reports and speculation surrounding Sen. Ted Cruz's Canadian birth certificate, the Texas Republican released a statement late Monday indicating he would renounce his Canadian citizenship as needed.
"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 released by spokesman Sean Rushton.
"Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship," he added. "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 released his birth certificate this past weekend, fueling rumors that the Texas Republican is considering a 2016 run for president, and putting many of the so-called "birthers"—who tend to share Cruz's Tea Party politics, but have repeatedly questioned Barack Obama's eligibility to be president—in an awkward spot.
Cruz gave a copy of his Canadian birth certificate, issued by the Edmonton Department of Health in January 1971 shortly after his birth, to the Dallas Morning News. The document shows that Cruz was born in Alberta to an American mother and a Cuban father, a birth which granted him dual citizenship rights in both Canada and the United States.
“Sen. Cruz became a U.S. citizen at birth, and he never had to go through a naturalization process after birth to become a U.S. citizen,” his spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told the paper. “To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship, so there is nothing to renounce.”
The Constitution requires that the president be a "natural-born citizen." Most experts agree that by that standard, Cruz qualifies, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Frazier told the paper that Cruz received his first U.S. passport in 1986 when his mother registered his birth with the U.S. consulate to facilitate a school trip to England.
It's not the first hint we've seen that Cruz is considering a run for president. People in the senator's "inner circle" told National Review he was weighing the option back in May, and his recent visits to Iowa sparked a flurry of conversation. But the release of the birth certificate suggests Cruz is aware that his eligibility could be questioned.
President Obama has been hounded by so-called "birthers," many of whom have claimed, without evidence, that he was born in his father's home country of Kenya. Those claims have not entirely dissipated even since the president released his long-form birth certificate in 2011: Critics revived the argument again last year after the emergence of a promotional literary document from 1991 that identified Obama's birthplace as Kenya. The literary agent responsible for the document quickly took responsibility for the error.
As recently as this month, a self-described "birther princess" addressed Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma at a town hall event, offering him research conducted by the Arizona sheriff and noted "birther" Joe Arpaio claiming that the president's birth certificate could not be authenticated.
Mullin, a Republican, said he agreed with the woman, but that the case couldn't be proved.
So far Donald Trump, the most high-profile Birther, appears to be applying the same standard to Cruz. Asked last week by ABC News whether the Texas senator is eligible for the White House, Trump replied: “If he was born in Canada, perhaps not.”
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter questioned Cruz's ability to run for president earlier this year, before she learned of his mother's American citizenship. She then tweeted:
TED CRUZ CAN RUN FOR PRESIDENT! I worried on @seanhannity @ his Calgary birth, But his mother was a US citizen, so he was born a citizen.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 14, 2013