The problem with pandering to the lowest common denominator is that the inconvenient truth eventually emerges. And such was the case recently for Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, US Senator for the State of Texas. You see Ted Cruz has an inconvenient truth that makes his arguments about immigration reform null and void.
The problem with immigrants “doing it the right way” is that the complexity of immigration laws and processes overwhelms even those tasked to enforce them. Simply put, there is no “right” way to do it for Mexicans unless they are willing to “game” the system, or put their lives on hold for 10 to 12 years.
As much as Ted Cruz would like his Canadian citizenship to evaporate the fact is that the law is the law, he is a Canadian citizen, born in Canada to a US woman who conveyed upon him US citizenship. Just as easily as Cruz is a US citizen he could also have been a Mexican citizen had he been born on the other side of the border.
In fact, under Cuba’s constitution, Article 29 in Chapter Two, Ted Cruz could assert Cuban citizenship because his father did not become a US citizen until 2005.
As much fun as it is to banter on about Ted Cruz’ predicament his current situation is an example of how immigration and citizenship is not as easy as “doing it the legal way”.
As a matter of fact, up until a few days ago, Ted Cruz was a rising political star looking to assume the US presidency until the inconvenient truth hit him square in the face. As the birth trickled into the blogosphere, Cruz’ people were immediately proclaiming Ted Cruz a “natural born” citizen and that the matter would be cleared up quickly by Cruz renouncing his Canadian citizenship.
Unfortunately for him, it is not as easy as that.
The US Constitution states that only “natural born” citizens can become president. Many argued Barack Obama’s birth in Hawaii as disqualifying him to be president. Questions about John McCain’s birth on the Panama Canal also raised questions about his ability to serve as president under the Constitution’s definition of “natural born”.
Except for the extreme zealots, it was agreed that both met the criteria of “natural born”. Although the US Constitution isn’t very specific about what defines a “natural born” citizen, since 2008 the consensus has been that an individual that did not have to go through the Naturalization process to get the citizenship was, in fact, a “natural born” citizen. Ted Cruz has based this as his reason as to why he is qualified to run for president.
However, that is an interpretation that has yet to be tested in court. You see, the theory that has emerged has not reached the US Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter of the interpretation of the Constitution. In fact, no court has addressed this issue directly. So, although Ted Cruz has stated that he would renounce his Canadian citizenship, there is no testing authority that has determined that he would, in fact, be eligible to serve as POTUS.
As many of you already know, Ted Cruz is a staunch opponent of immigration reform. On June 19, 2013, Ted Cruz pushed forth an amendment to the Senate’s immigration reform bill removing the pathway to citizenship. In July, Ted Cruz voted against the Senate’s version of the immigration reform bill. His obvious disdain for immigration policy makes me wonder how he would be feeling today if his mom hadn’t taken the step of registering his birth in the United States. It was his mom’s foresight that allows him to proclaim the possibility of running for President. Had his mom, assumed that he was a citizen and waited to process the paperwork, like many US citizens do, then Ted Cruz may have found out first-hand how perilous it is to navigate the bureaucracy of the broken and ineffective immigration system.
Ted Cruz may well have been queuing up in line at the US Embassy in Canada to ascertain his US citizenship, today, instead of asking around how he goes about renouncing his Canadian citizenship, had it not been for his mother’s actions. Just like he did not know he was a Canadian citizen by virtue of his birth there, there are many thing he does know, or understand about immigrating to the United States “legally”. Therefore, instead of pandering to the Tea Party collective he should look at seeing what it is that would serve the United States best, as he swore to do when he assumed his office.
Likewise, becasue of the anti-immigration rhetoric emanating from the Tea Party about immigration reform “making America worse”, it make me wonder how they would feel about a president that could conceivably declare himself to be a Cuban citizen?