The “birthers” are back. Or rather, they never went away. After questioning the eligibility of Barack Obama for years, they seem to have shifted their focus towards potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates, notably the Canadian-born [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]. (They have also gone after [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] and Bobby Jindal, but the venom directed at them is less notable and their circumstances are for another article).
There is a simple problem with their arguments: they have no factual basis and are purely opinions, they go against the intent of the Founding Fathers, and they go against the letter of the law.
The very purpose of the “natural born citizen” clause was to prevent foreign governments from inserting a Trojan Horse into the White House. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] is not a Trojan Horse, of course. But what really matters is what the law says, and on that the birthers are explicitly wrong.
Birthers will often cite obscure court cases, foreign legal writings, etc. to bolster their position. But there is really only one document that matters: the Naturalization Act of 1790.
After the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, the First Congress went about building the federal government that had been approved to govern. They passed several pieces of legislation to do so. The Militia Acts of 1792 and the Judiciary Act of 1789 are prime examples of this.
The Naturalization Act of 1790 is less known. It primarily did two things. First, it set procedure for admitting citizens. Second, it defined who would be consider a “natural born citizen,” which the authors of the Constitution declined to specifically do within the document itself.
In fact, and birthers hate to admit this, but the Naturalization Act of 1790 is the only U.S. law to define specifically what constitutes a “natural born citizen.”
With it established that the Naturalization Act of 1790 is the definitive authority on what a “natural born citizen” is, let us examine the law:
United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790).
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.
The relative text is bolded. As you can see there are two requirement set forth which apply specifically to the foreign-born Cruz. He fulfills them.
Requirement 1: That he be a child of a U.S. citizen.
His mother was a United States citizen.
Requirement 2: That his father had once resided in the United States.
His father had resided in Texas before he moved his family to Canada.
The eligibility of [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] is clear.
If you have an issue with Cruz being eligible to run for president, fine. But you will have to take it up with the dead Founding Fathers who decided what “natural born citizen” would mean, wrote it into legislation, and got it signed into law by George Washington.