Senator Ted Cruz (R, CN)

Ted Cruz, Canadian.

It turns out that hard-right Republican Senator and Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is a Canadian citizen as well as an American one. TPM:

The birth certificate [released by Cruz] confirmed that the Texas Republican was born Dec. 22, 1970 in Calgary, Alberta. Because he was born to an American mother, Cruz instantly became an American citizen. But he also immediately became a Canadian citizen under the country’s law.

However, the choice between becoming a Mountie and a mountebank is one Cruz has already made.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

42 thoughts on “Senator Ted Cruz (R, CN)”

  1. It wasn’t that hard a choice– Disney owns the Mountie uniform, image, name, and appurtenances, and Cruz didn’t want to pay to use them …

      1. I have been watching the Canadian TV series “Da Vinci’s Inquest” of several years ago; highly recommended. It seems that up there, hey, they don’t call them the “Mounties”; they are the “Horsemen”. Just so you can fit in better if you visit Vancouver.

        1. Really? I’ve been following Canadian news (very) casually most of my life (I listen to the CBC, I spent a lot of summer vacations in BC when I was younger), and I’ve never in my life heard of “the horsemen”. I’ll grant you, use of “mounties” isn’t common and is always extremely deliberate (is adoption of a tone I’d struggle to define). II’m used to hearing the acronym RCMP in the news and in casual conversation – but I’ve never heard of “the horsemen” outside of “the apocalypse”.

          1. Referring to the RCMP as “The Horsemen” or the “Feds” is slang used by players, be they police or criminals. Ken, if you love Da Vinci’s Inquest (as I do), you should check out Haddock’s ultimate masterpiece, Intelligence. Intelligence is not quite as stylized as Da Vinci’s Inquest, but there really are no shows like it at all. Its a spy show without the stupid, which seems impossible I know but give it a shot.

        1. Not to nit-pick but obtaining a license to use is not the same as owning. In fact it acknowledges that the person granting the license is the owner.

          1. Yes, I overstated for dramatic effect. But you can’t use the image or the physical appurtenances without a Disney okay and presumably paying the fees.

    1. Ken, thanks for the link. Very interesting and informative article. I think I’ve read a couple of other similar things he wrote about Obama’s citizenship when the issues arose and (at that time) had the opportunity to ask other immigration lawyers about his analysis and everybody I spoke with said he was well withing the mainstream. I do think, however, he seems to raise a couple of points that might apply to Cruz and would need to investigation and explanation, particularly whether his father was actually capable of transmitting citizenship to a child born in Canada and then also whether the father did anything that would, at the time, have been considered expatriating.

      1. Sorry for the typo. The question is whether his supposedly American mother is capable of transmitting citizenship.

  2. Gee wilikers…

    It wasn’t so long ago when anything Canadian was a fair-use right-wing chew toy.
    Then –I guess — Canada went carbon dioxide rouge and the Wurlitzer went looking for new boot leather…

    Here’s a fun thought experiment:

    Suppose the Canada-born Mr. Cruz was a Democrat interested in running for President.
    Would our friends on the right be spending time (like J. Marshall at TPM) pointing out that Mr. Cruz is legally eligible to run for President?
    Or would our friends on the right be exploiting the fact that most Americans believe Presidential eligibility hinges on being born on American soil?

    I suspect most of you few this thought experiment as a stacked deck. We all know how it would play out in reality:

    A Democrat Mr. Cruz candidacy would be DOA.
    In fact: a Democrat Mr. Cruz would now be worse positioned than Gary Hart admitting to hanky-panky on the yacht “Monkey Business”.
    Stick a devil’s fork in him…

    That’s why for me at least, Mr. Wimberley’s “(R,CN)” hits the sweet spot:
    Sarah Palin the half-term governor now has a credible rival: Mr. Cruz, the US Senator born in Canada.

    Side note: Anybody who can resist rubbing the right-wing dog’s nose in it’s own monster pile of birther-poo, is a better man than me…

  3. “The Canadian Mr. Cruz, who was elected to the Senate, today refused to answer additional questions regarding his dual citizenship.”

  4. Ted Cruz will now presumably renounce his Canadian nationality. This will be a momentary embarrassment, but gives him an opening to ceremonially burn in effigy the Canadian national health insurance card he´s entitled to.

    1. But surely Cruz was inculcated from birth with Canada’s anti-colonialist ideology. He is obviously just a sleeper agent for Canadian collectivism. And was he even born in Canada, as he claims? Perhaps he was really born in Cuba and is a sleeper agent for the Communist? What proof is there of his having been born in Canada, apart from the obviously forged birth certificate?

      Another thing: Have you ever seen the Cruz put his hand on an American bible (written in the same English spoken by the baby Jesus) and say the pledge of allegiance? No, you haven’t! And you know why: because his tongue would catch on fire!

      But, on a more serous note, if his parents really were poor Cuban refugees fleeing the tyranny of Fidel Castro and he was born in Canada, how exactly is it that he is not a naturalized citizen? No snark, I’m just not familiar his Cruz’s personal history and just vaguely remember him writing something about how his parents came to this country on a raft, one step ahead of the Fidelists and with nothing in their pockets? How did they end up in Canada? Also, I don’t understand how his parents got into this country from Canada in the first place. If he was born in Canada, did his parents come to the USA as economic migrants or were they fleeing some sort of persecution related to forced conscription for youth hockey, or what?

      1. Cruz’s mother was an American citizen born and raised in Delaware, whence his own citizenship; that’s automatic.

        But you drove me to wikipedia yet again, Mitch, to fill in some other things I sort of knew. Basically the story is that Cruz’s father was an anti-Batista fidelisto but didn’t realize Castro was a communist until property seizures began; at that point he fled to Texas, in 1957, worked his way through UT, then (implied) got into the oil bidness. That’s how he got posted to Calgary– lots of American oil operations up there. He was naturalized in 2005. (This particular son was, by sheer coincidence, 35 that year …)

        I don’t know exactly when the policy began– I want to say 1959– and I don’t know that Cruz’s father entered when it was in effect, but from a short time after Castro took power, any Cuban who set foot on American soil was automatically exempt from any immigration restrictions or conditions and able to stay legally, even under the old national origins quota system; at various times they’ve also been given preferential government aid for settlement, though it doesn’t look like Cruz’s father got any of that. Even if he didn’t enter under this policy, there really were no quota restrictions on immigration from the Western hemisphere and he could presumably have been legalized under the later policy if that was needed– a guess. So I don’t think there’s any basis to question his legal residency status, especially since he would have needed American documentation to work in Canada.

        A fervent anti-Castroite would have found Calgary pretty congenial, if maybe kind of cold.

        1. Looking over the article linked to by Ken Doran, there are some very specific requirements for transmitting American citizenship to children born abroad and it’s not clear to me that Cruz’s father was able to satisfy all of them. There is also the question of how the father got permission to live and work in Canada. We should examine the paperwork very carefully to see if anything he did or agreed to was expatriating.

          1. Cruz’s father was an anti-Batista fidelisto but didn’t realize Castro was a communist until property seizures began; at that point he fled to Texas, in 1957,

            How was Castro seizing property in 1957?

          2. Good question, byomtov, which should have occurred to me too. Too tired or distracted, I guess.

            What seems undisputed are the ubiquitous statements that the dad “fought alongside” the Castro movement, was jailed and beaten by Batista forces, and got to Texas sometime in 1957 as a teenager. So I’m guessing that he was involved in anti-Batista demonstrations or small-scale actions that were going on at several points, and quite possibly in the student attack on the presidential palace in early 1957 (which is described as led by anti-communist Revolutionary Directorate). I think it’s extremely unlikely that he was one of the guerrillas around Castro himself, because he’s more likely to have joined with the RD if he was going to take up arms (it was active alongside Castro’s guerrillas in the 1957-8 campaign, but this seems to have been mostly after Cruz senior had left), less likely he’d have survived if part of Castro’s militia before late 1957, and if with the latter group more likely to have known of Castro’s ideology. I draw some confirmation for this guess from Cruz’s statement that the father’s sister was an active counter-revolutionary who was tortured by Castro forces. None of this detracts from the danger of any anti-Batista activities of any kind, at the time.

            As far as the timing of the change of views goes, it isn’t crystal clear; Cruz seems to have told Ryan Lizza that the dad was unhappy about the course of events almost as soon as Castro took power in 1959 and really soured on him after a visit back home in 1960:

            But the relation between specific actions by Castro and precisely when Cruz senior went over into opposition is far less the point of the story than is the change of heart itself. Cruz has told this family history to many people over many years and it’s become part of his political persona and biography. Independent corroboration of parts of it wouldn’t be impossible and might help clarify what Cruz’s father did in Cuba, in particular. More important is the way Cruz fits this experience into his political biography– it’s pretty much equivalent to Reagan’s story of conversion from New Deal liberal to the True Faith, just pushed back a generation.

    2. His spokes-entity says he never claimed to be a Canadian citizen … Gotta be hiding something!

      Seriously, I know nothing about what his dad did up there, but all through Cruz’s lifetime Calgary has been the epicenter of Canadian anti-big-government, anti-Ottawa, pro-corporate-interest, separatist sentiment. Close ties to Texas oil companies there. Calgary is also the home riding of the current PM, Harper, who’s most noted for promoting big oil interests, taking Canada well along the road to autocratic rule, slashing public services (especially parks and research that might actually monitor environmental changes), drastically raising defense spending. Does any of this sound familiar?

      It’s reflex to think of Canada as somehow “liberal,” mainly I guess because of national health care. But ever since Trudeau’s National Energy Policy, Alberta has shifted strongly to the right, and Calgary’s been as right-wing as the reddest of our red states. Cruz just underlines that there’s really almost no ideological distance between Calgary and Texas.

  5. This is of course all nonsense, and worth considering solely if a half-decent joke can be wrung from it (eg mounties / mountebanks). The US does not recognize dual citizenship, and I’m not aware that Cruz has ever in his life made an affirmative claim to be a Canadian citizen, especially as an adult.

    If we really care to go down this road, can we talk about that hilarious thing from earlier this year where it was revealed Michelle Bachmann had sought out and obtained Swiss citizenship, while serving in the US Congress?

      1. Read your own link. The US does not insist people renounce dual citizenship (though seeking to acquire it is suspect) – but the US basically says it will be politely quiet about dual citizenship up to the point where remaining quiet might inconvenience the US, and then will ignore the dual citizenship. It’s a practical, rather than a dogmatic, approach, but it boils down to the US not affording any privileges – any recognition, if you will – to dual citizenship.

        1. I agree that the subject is complicated, but for someone not familiar with those complications, your original statement is misleading at best. As a matter of practice, American law certainly accommodates dual citizenship for the most part, and an awful lot of people openly utilize it.

        2. I don’t quite read it that way. To me, that discussion basically says that what matters most is where you are when one of your countries of citizenship makes a claim on you.

          As far as being dual, I think it says you can be a dual citizen in essentially three ways: 1) because another country’s laws make you one of theirs; that’s no problem because neither the US nor you can do anything about it (some countries claim children of emigrants, I think), or 2) if you’re not a US citizen and get naturalized here, you can be dual because you don’t _have_ to renounce your first citizenship (pragmatic, as you say, because in some cases the country decides whether you remain a citizen and there’s nothing you can do about it), or 3) if you’re a US citizen and get naturalized somewhere else, you’re dual unless you _intend_ to give up citizenship here: “In order to lose U.S. citizenship, the law requires that the person must apply for the foreign citizenship voluntarily, by free choice, and with the intention to give up U.S. citizenship.” I think that might require an explicit act of renunciation.

          I have to say, though, that I think this linked digest sits a little uneasily with the naturalization oath, except where it recognizes that citizenship can be automatic and not a choice. The oath starts, “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen.” Looks like a renunciation to me, but then what do I know?

          My impression is that we have a lot of dual nationals now, many more than we used to have, or at least many more than we used to know about.

          1. I never paid any attention to dual nationality under after Obama’s election when I began reading articles about it including the excellent series of articles linked to by Ken Doran (written by an actual immigration lawyer who doesn’t seem to have an axe to grind). I agree it is a complicated subject and made even more so because a person’s nationality or citizenship is determined independently by each state under its domestic laws. So, for example, the US is very restrictive about renouncing American citizenship. The UK is the same. So, for example, if you go to Germany on an American or UK passport and then renounce after the war starts, guess what, it’s not effective and you’re on the hook for treason.

            Similarly, people born in Warsaw Pact countries but who subsequently became US citizens were warned that they might nonetheless still be considered citizens of their country of origin and all kinds of bad stuff could happen if they went back for a visit. We’ve recently seen this happen with several people born in China but who later became US citizens. They then returned to China and were punished for breaking Chinese “laws”. Another example would be dual US-Israeli citizens who fail to perform their compulsory national service and are therefore considered lawbreakers by the Israeli government.

            And there are countries like Kenya with which we are all now familiar that allow citizenship to pass by blood but also require a positive affirmation to retain it. So, for example, Obama has Kenyan citizenship through his father but it is automatically lost on a particular birthday if he fails to affirm it. Apparently, if you don’t say the magic words in time (basically I assume upon reaching the age of majority), Kenya turns its back on you.

            Also, it’s apparently a current practice in many countries having a lot of people wanting to go to America to modify their citizenship requirements, etc to facilitate becoming dual nationals with the USA. Then there’s also the question of whether being, say, a citizen of France makes you French. If I moved to Paris, started wearing a beret, smoking Gauloises, riding my bike every day to pick up a baguette for diner would I be French or just another American living in Paris with a French passport?

          2. One of the more famous (or more deserving to be famous) persistent-citizenship cases is that of Maher Arar, who left Syria (as a refugee, of sorts) when he was 17, acquired Canadian citizenship (in 1991), married, and had kids. He was detained in 2001 (on spurious grounds, as it happens) in JFK airport changing planes to get home from Tunis to Canada.

            The authorities then deported him – not to Canada, where he’d lived for half his time on the planet, where he had obtained citizenship and built a life, and which he was trying to reach anyway, and had a valid ticket for, but to Syria, the country he’d fled and whose citizenship he’d renounced. Technically, this was legal: the US can deport just about any foreign national, to just about any state that claims them (if you’re a foreigner here and the US can get the Federated States of Micronesia to claim they own you, the US can ship you off to there). Of course, the purpose of deportation to Syria was the year of brutal torture that Arar endured there. Nauseatingly, a Federal Judge rejected Arar’s lawsuit on the grounds that proceeding with the case might embarrass Canada – even though Canada has basically come clean on the case, held an inquiry, apologized, and offered Arar money. They’re basically immune to further embarrassment on the issue.

          3. Yeah. A guy I was in grad school with, naturalized citizen born in France, family emigrated when he was a young child, was pulled out of the customs line at de Gaulle when he went there for dissertation research. In the little interview room they informed him that he’d failed to perform his national service, thereupon had been tried and condemned to death in absentia.

  6. Do I understand this correctly? If that presidential thing does not work out for him, he could still become Prime Minister of Canada.

    Or maybe he could serve his presidential term and then go become PM at a later date.

    1. If that presidential thing does not work out for him, he could still become Prime Minister of Canada.

      Theoretically, maybe, but I suspect he’d have a better chance of winning the title of Emperor of the Moon.

  7. @byomtov,

    Exactly! Castro didn’t take power until January 1, 1959, and if I remember my high school history class correctly, nobody on the left or centre-left really broke with him until sometime after 1960. Yes, there was much unhappiness on the left/centre-left/centrist spectrum at the killing sprees as cities fell to Castro. The killings in Santiago after the fall of the city and the installation of Guevara in La Cabaña where he “consolidated” Castro’s victory by torturing and murdering a significant number of enemies of the revolution, both real and imagined caused many on the left, including some who had been with Castro from the start, to become disenchanted with the regime and argue that it had lost its moral compass. Nevertheless, I think most of the breaks with Castro by his former supporters didn’t really start to take place until early 1960.

    Also, as you point out, Castro couldn’t and didn’t expropriate anybody’s property until 1959. There was also considerable ambiguity about Castro’s politics until December 2, 1961, when he famously “outed” himself as a Communist. So it would have been very strange for Cruz’s father to break with Castro long before his victory and far in advance of when these supposed causes of his disenchantment took place (NB: Anybody with actual expertise in Cuban history should feel free to jump in and correct me).

    It seems to me that Cruz’s father was probably just a guy who saw that Cuba was about to become an even more dangerous, violent country and very sensibly decided to decamp for America, where the grass was much greener. Most likely, all the anti-Castro talk and depicting himself as a victim of Castro was just seen as a useful embellishment to better ingratiate himself with the virulently anti-Communist sentiments of the times. I assume that Cruz himself decided to keep the anti-Castro narrative in spite of the flawed timeline because it helped him fit in with the Bircher lunatics he has spent his entire adult life cultivating.

    On the other hand, I would like to know more about the Cruz family background and especially how the father got into this country, how he financed his education, his entree into the oil business and then why and how he was able to move to Canada. Was the father a disenchanted revolutionary who broke with Castro on principle or was he an opportunist? There seem to be a lot of problems (and, indeed, considerable dishonesty) with this narrative, if 1957 is indeed the date of the father’s moving to America and his supposed break with Castro.

    I think we’re entitled to some answers. Inquiring minds want to know!

    1. Mitch, my reply to byomtov above at 5:52 touches on some of this. Basically, the immigration was 1957 and the break was 1959 or 1960, not exactly clear which, and my confusion about timing comes from the wiki bio’s compression and inattention.

      I know nothing of Cruz pere’s socio-economic status or whether the family was still in Matanzas in the 50s so was pretty careful in my speculations above. But it seems perfectly plausible for someone to have been both anti-Batista and anti-communist and to have suffered for being anti-Batista; I take the “alongside Castro’s revolutionaries” to be hyperbole for the sake of the conversion story, something Cruz seems prone to once in a while on this subject. (Though since Cruz himself seems to be the single source for this story, wouldn’t it be something if it turned out that it was all made up! How Reaganesque would that be?)

      I don’t remember which reference in the wiki Cruz bio this comes from– I think the Dallas News story– but the general drift is that when Cruz senior graduated from UT he worked as what I infer to be a petroleum geologist. He would have gone to Alberta because seismic exploration was a really big thing there at the time, which I know from someone else who worked out there then. It isn’t clear from the occupation listing (geophysical consultant) whether he went there working for a company, as a consultant hired by a company, or setting up under his own shingle. If the latter, he’d probably have had to have a sponsor, or to have filed as intending landed immigrant status or something like that– seeking permanent residency, in other words. If he went there for a company he’d have been able to get a work visa pretty easily because of the oil boom. It wasn’t at all unusual or hard for foreigners to get into the oil patch in those days, particularly if they came from Texas. They supposedly ended up staying until about 1974.

      Cruz senior, btw, is supposed to be a pastor now in Dallas. I don’t know if he’s given interviews about any of this.

      1. Still doesn’t work for me. Still a lot of gaps and those gaps are this difference between people who have become true believers and a family of unprincipled opportunists lying about their history to better fit in with people that were and are important to them financially. People who would be profoundly impressed by a Whittaker Chambers style narrative of finding the true faith.

        It seems to me that if a big part of Cruz’s political is his and his family’s conversion based on Dad’s first hand experiences fighting with Fidel the he has a certain obligation to give a clear and truthful account of how the family Cruz had its eyes opened. On this timeline, the father was maybe vaguely political, presumably on the left. He was maybe tortured by the Batista regime, again based on the conversion narrative, presumably because of his leftist tendencies.

        Then, at the time when the political situation is in flux and Castro is getting out of jail and actually starting his revolution, Cruz the Elder abandons his comrades and move to Texas where—by pulling himself up by his bootstraps—he puts himself through university and earns the American dream. At some unspecified and apparently unmemorialized time (but presumably while he is pulling himself up by his bootstraps, circa 1958 or 1961) he has his epiphany. The scales fall from his eyes and he sees Fidel for the monster he is. Cruz the Elder breaks with Fidel over unspecified grievances, which are naturally not memorialized at the time but which aid him and especially his son in ingratiating themselves with rich Birchers. There’s a whole lot here that the Cruz Family needs to explain both politically and to establish the son’s eligibility.

  8. I´m amazed by this thread, and flattered that my “half-decent joke´´ (Warren dixit) has led to such a learned discussion.

  9. May I say as a Canadian that (a) we don’t want him and he is welcome, nay urged, to renounce his Canadian citizenship, but (b) apparently for Canadian purposes, that takes more than just a solemn declaration. There is a process involved (of course… and no doubt an application fee.)

    In all the years it has taken me living in Canada to become a senior citizen, I have never heard of members of the RCMP referred to as ‘the horsemen’ – though I have never been a member of a police force or a criminal, so maybe I’ve just missed it somehow.

    1. BTW generally one loses one’s right to public health care after three months of non-residence, so Senator Cruz should have his wallet ready if he requires hospitalization here (though it will be a good deal less expensive than at home, and he probably has insurance…)

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