Ted Cruz’s ironic birther predicament

If birthers wanted to go after Ted Cruz's citizenship, here are the many questions they could ask

Topics: Ted Cruz, Birthers, Canada, Citizenship, irony,

Ted Cruz's ironic birther predicament (Credit: Benjamin Wheelock/Salon/AP/Justin Hayworth)

Connoisseurs of irony must be having a fine time watching Sen. Ted Cruz deal with inquiries about his U.S. citizenship. Barely eight weeks ago, Cruz loudly announced that he intended to introduce “a commonsense (sic) amendment to the immigration bill” that would allow states to require documentary proof of citizenship as a condition of voter registration — and now he has been forced to release his own birth certificate in order to answer questions arising from his Canadian birth.

To be clear, Cruz’s evidence is plenty good enough for me, but it cannot possibly be enough to satisfy consistent, die-hard birthers.

Cruz’s official Canadian birth certificate, as posted by the Dallas Morning News, shows that Rafael Edward Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, on December 22, 1970. Oddly, however, the birth was not registered until December 31, leaving an unexplained gap of nine days. But where was baby Ted over Christmas, an astute birther might ask. Donald Trump could build a casino in a hole that size.

Still, the birth certificate does state that Cruz’s mother, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson, was born in Wilmington, Delaware. As Cruz has often said, that made him a U.S. citizen at birth, and therefore eligible to be president – but only if the birth certificate is accurate. The Canadian officials would have had no reason to question Cruz’s mother about her native country, nor would they have demanded any proof. Her word alone was good enough for Canadian purposes. Why would they care about the baby’s future qualification for the U.S. presidency?

You Might Also Like

Which brings us – or rather, which ought to bring the birthers – to the documents Cruz has not produced. Where, for example, is the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which Cruz’s parents could have obtained at the U.S. consulate in Calgary? That would at least establish their intention to register him as an American citizen while they were living in Canada. For that matter, where is Eleanor Wilson’s own birth certificate? I mean, anyone can claim to have been born in Delaware, and everyone (including this dual citizen of the United States and Canada) knows that Canadians are too polite to ask tough questions. Birthers will have no such qualms. Will they require documentary proof?

Of course, even a sheaf of birth certificates would still leave Cruz’s citizenship technically open to question. Under the law in effect in 1970, Cruz would only have acquired U.S. citizenship if his mother had been “physically present” in the United States for ten years prior to his birth, including five years after she reached the age of fourteen. Neither Cruz’s birth certificate, nor his mother’s, nor the Consular Report could irrefutably establish Eleanor Wilson’s residence for the necessary length of time. For all birthers know, she might have been living in Kenya.

With so much grist for the birther mill, Cruz could face weeks, or months, of demands for his mother’s school registration, utility bills, leases, and property tax records – all of which would be subjected to intensive internet scrutiny. Maybe Donald Trump would send investigators to Delaware. After all, political observers have heard countless charges that documents can be faked.

Sure, the quest would be silly. Birtherism always is. But that didn’t prevent Cruz and his Tea Party confreres from keeping mum about the crazy rumors that have been spread for years about President Obama. Just this month, Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas promised to “take a look” at claims about “the fraudulent birth certificate of Barack Obama’s.” Another Texas Republican,  Congressman Steve Stockman, also continues to question the president’s birth place. Sen. Cruz probably has enough star power within his party to squelch that sort of nonsense, if he would only speak out against it. But he has evidently been content to watch the conspiracy theories fulminate unchecked. As reported by National Review Online, he has even refused to rule out impeaching the president.

No responsible person actually doubts Cruz’s citizenship (although, as a Harvard trained lawyer he must surely know that his Canadian birth certificate is far from definitive proof). Connoisseurs of hypocrisy, on the other hand, are having a ball.

Steven Lubet is the Williams Memorial Professor of Law at Northwestern University.  His most recent book is John Brown’s Spy: The Adventurous Life and Tragic Confession of John E. Cook.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...