Notably, in 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain were both subject to scrutiny over their eligibility to run for job of commander-in-chief.
Although McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, he received relatively less criticism than Obama did over his birthplace, who some argued was Kenya and not Hawaii as documentation indicated.
With the 2016 presidential race just around the corner, the question of citizenship is especially relevant with Sen. Ted Cruz’s announcement that he will be running — the first politician to officially do so.
Since he has taken the senatorial seat, the Republican candidate has been known for being controversial. The recent controversy concerning the senator is the fact that he was not actually born in the U.S., but in Calgary, Canada.
The Constitution mandates that a president be “no person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States.”
The most indisputable situation of U.S. nationality would be if a candidate was born on American soil. However, what makes Cruz’s presidential bid difficult to assess for validity is the “natural born” citizenship clause of the requirement.
The Constitution addresses many things, but defining what “natural born” means is not one of them.
However, there is a clause that the State Department has issued regarding the matter of citizenship when a child is born on foreign ground that might turn out to be Cruz’s saving grace.
This clause says that one parent can be American and the other non-American as long as the latter has resided in the U.S. for a “period of 10 years, five after the age of 14.”
It is in this clause that Cruz’s mother, an American, allows him to be considered a citizen even though his dad was a Cuban immigrant when he was born.
However, the question persists: Is Cruz really considered “natural born?”
This is an issue to give some serious consideration to if those who so adamantly demanded to see Obama’s birth certificate in 2008 are to be fair in their insistence on having an American president. Particularly because Cruz actually has less proof to fall back on than Obama did.
Obama was born in the U.S., but even if he had not been, he still could have run for president if he were given the same acceptability as Cruz is enjoying now.
Like Cruz, Obama’s mom was American and lived in the U.S. for the required amount of time for a foreign-born child to be considered a citizen.
However, there were far more people calling foul on the Obama campaign than there are for Cruz now.
Not only does this reveal a double standard within the political realm, but is also an embarrassing display of how many are willing to make up excuses for unfair treatment.
The accusations against Obama’s birthplace were based on speculation. In comparison, now we see a candidate who was legitimately born in another country and it seems as if constitutional eligibility is up for debate, especially after Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship in May 2014.
While various scholars have come forward and said Cruz’s bid will most likely stand due to the Constitution’s lack of specificity on the matter, the American public should consider giving each politician a fair chance to prove himself or herself eligible for the presidency. Moreover, our persuasion should be based on facts and not political affiliation.