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Putting Ted Cruz Birtherism To Rest

Just The Facts

There have been many questions regarding the Presidential eligibility of Ted Cruz. They must be answered. I trust this diary is not in violation of the site prohibition on promoting Obama-birther theories.

Imagine for a moment you are a young woman, say 25. You and your husband are out of college and have bright futures ahead of yourself. You decide you want to procreate and do so successfully.  To celebrate, your parents treat you and your husband to a two-week vacation in Europe. At this point, you still have a month before the baby is due, so you go on the trip. But in the middle of the trip, something happens. You go into contractions and give birth. Well, I guess this isn’t what you had planned, but no big deal right?

There is just one problem: your child will probably be denied the opportunity to run for President.

Let’s be honest here. From just a common sense perspective, denying the child in this hypothetical scenario the opportunity to run for President just because he/she was born on foreign soil is ridiculous. Foreign soil does not have magical powers that can turn you into a double agent.

But the Constitution says that anyone running for President has to be be born on American soil, right?

Wrong. Here is what the Constitution says:

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.

Let’s start with understanding the intent behind the eligibility requirement of being a “natural born Citizen” for becoming President.

Both the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists were wary of foreign powers corrupting our Presidential elections and establishing puppet leaders, which was a common practice in Europe.

From Anti-Federalist #68:

We know that there scarcely ever was an election of such an officer without the interposition of foreign powers. Two causes prevail to make them intermeddle in such cases:-one is, to preserve the balance of power; the other, to preserve their trade. These causes have produced interferences of foreign powers in the election of the king of Poland. All the great powers of Europe have interfered in an election which took place not very long ago, and would not let the people choose for themselves. We know how much the powers of Europe have interfered with Sweden. Since the death of Charles XII, that country has been a republican government. Some powers were willing it should be so; some were willing her imbecility should continue; others wished the contrary; and at length the court of France brought about a revolution, which converted it into an absolute government. Can America be free from these interferences? France, after losing Holland, will wish to make America entirely her own. Great Britain will wish to increase her influence by a still closer connection. It is the interest of Spain, from the contiguity of her possessions in the western hemisphere to the United States, to be in an intimate connection with them, and influence their deliberations, if possible. I think we have every thing, to apprehend from such interferences. It is highly probable the President will be continued in office for life. To gain his favor, they will support him. Consider the means of importance he will have by creating officers. If he has a good understanding with the Senate, they will join to prevent a discovery of his misdeeds. . . .

And Federalist #68:

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment. And they have excluded from eligibility to this trust, all those who from situation might be suspected of too great devotion to the President in office. No senator, representative, or other person holding a place of trust or profit under the United States, can be of the numbers of the electors. Thus without corrupting the body of the people, the immediate agents in the election will at least enter upon the task free from any sinister bias. Their transient existence, and their detached situation, already taken notice of, afford a satisfactory prospect of their continuing so, to the conclusion of it. The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States, in any combinations founded upon motives, which though they could not properly be denominated corrupt, might yet be of a nature to mislead them from their duty.

Obviously, there was broad agreement that the Constitution had to prevent foreign agents from rising to power. But there is no mention in the Constitution or the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers about a requirement for being born on U.S. soil. Admittedly, much of this language is vague.

To define what “natural born Citizen” means and who falls under that category, let us look to the Naturalization Act of 1790, which was passed a year after the Constitution was adopted:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof on application to any common law Court of record in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court  that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law to support the Constitution of the United States, which Oath or Affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such Application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a Citizen of the United States.  And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States.  And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens:  Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States:  Provided also, that no person heretofore proscribed by any States, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an Act of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.

There is the definition we have all been waiting for, straight from the people who were there when the Constitution was written. This definition is also the law of the land, as opposed to what people say on the blogosphere.

Ted Cruz’s mother was an American citizen and his father had been a resident in the United States by the time Cruz was born. According to the Naturalization Act of 1790, Cruz is eligible.

Further boosting Cruz’s case is the Nationality Act of 1940 (only available in PDF form), which allows “nationality at birth” to those who were born inthe  United States; to those born outside the U.S. to parents who were both citizens; to those found in the United States without parents and no proof of birth elsewhere; and to those who were born to one American parent, provided that parent has spent a certain number of years in the United States.

Clearly, Cruz falls under these qualifications as well.

The Founding Fathers did not care where you were born, they cared who you where born to. Let’s save ourselves a lot of pointless infighting leading up to 2016 and focus on the issues, not incorrect theories that profligate on the internet.

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