By the time of their inauguration, the President and Vice President must be: natural born citizens (including naturalization passed from parents). At least thirty-five years old. Inhabitants of the United States for at least fourteen years. Article Two of the United States Constitution
Ted Cruz is a Republican Senator from Texas, elected in 2012, and already being talked about as a possible candidate for President in 2016. However, some people have raised the question about his eligibility to run for President, based on the fact that he was born in Canada. His mother was an American citizen, & his father was a Cuban immigrant, they met and married in Canada and then moved to America when Ted Cruz was 4. But, as far as I can see, all legal experts agree that, due to his mother’s citizenship, that automatically makes Ted Cruz an American citizen, and therefor eligible to hold any public office, including President. What’s funny is that is also makes him a Canadian citizen, and he’d be eligible to run for and hold any public office in Canada, as well. After finding this out, Ted Cruz arranged to formally renounce his Canadian citizenship, which I find to be silly, but it just goes to show how deep the xenophobic wing of the Far Right has gotten since President Obama got elected and the whole Birther Movement arose. It’s funny that Cruz feels compelled to distance himself from the question of him holding dual citizenship in this case, when we’re talking about Canada. As if all the sudden Canada is some Evil Empire that Americans must guard against. I’m like, did I miss something? Did we enter into a Cold War with Canada? Are we strengthening our borders against swarms of Canadian immigrants trying to sneak into our country?
Anyway, this all raises a topic I’ve thought about before, the idea that legal immigrants can’t run for President. I don’t think that’s fair. Isn’t the point of immigration that if someone follows the rules, comes here legally, and applies for citizenship and then goes through the process and becomes an American citizen then they get all the rights and privileges of American citizenship? They pay taxes. They can be drafted into the military. They can be judges, even appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. They can run for and hold any other elected or appointed office in the land. But they can’t be President? Why not?
I kind of understand why certain restrictions where made at the beginning, when this country was founded. I guess the worry was that some foreign power, like England, could sneak in some double-agent who wasn’t really loyal to this country to be President. I don’t see that happening now (this guy explains why that’s implausible). So I would argue the qualifications should be changed. Let’s look at Ted Cruz, and say that hypothetically he wasn’t a natural citizen, but he’s been here since he was 4 years old. He’s 43, so he’s been here 39 years. That should be more than good enough to qualify him to be President, in my opinion.
I’d argue that the rules should be changed so that anyone who has been a legal citizen for a minimumm of at least 35 years is qualified to be President. A natural born citizen has to be at least 35 years old, so we could look at the day an immigrant becomes a citizen as their “birth” as an American. Ideally I’d probably change that to only 14 years, since the other qualification for natural born citizens is having to have lived here for at least 14 years. But, either way, the rules should be changed.
For the record, let me be extremely clear that I am NOT endorsing Ted Cruz for President or saying that I want him to run. It’s not about him specifically (and, again, he IS an American Citizen anyway, so this doesn’t apply to him). I’m looking at the bigger picture of immigrants in general, and trying to come up with the most fair solution to this problem. That’s all.
Just my opinion.