Dual Citizenship in America

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ted Cruz speaking at a Tea Party Express rally in Austin, Texas. (Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia Commons)

Texas Senator Ted Cruz's plans to renounce his Canadian citizenship have raised questions about dual citizenship in America. Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute office at NYU School of Law, explains how dual citizenship works in America, and why renunciation is a growing trend.



Muzaffar Chishti

Comments [30]

jgarbuz from Queens


Just being born Jewish does not automatically make you a citizen of the State of Israel. If you are a Jew, you can get automatic legal residency in the State of Israel, but you are not automatically a citizen. After you've lived in the country for three years, only then are you automatically conferred Israeli citizenship, and it comes with your notice to go to the draft office to get your physical checkup in preparation to be drafted into the IDF. But you are not automatically a citizen until you've lived in Israel for 3 years first.

Aug. 23 2013 12:03 PM
Victoria from Brooklyn

I have dual citizenship with Britain, which in addition to EU work rights I always thought would help protect me in an anti-american environment somewhere in the world. Unfortunately, in recent years everyone who hates the US also hates the UK, so there goes that!

Aug. 23 2013 12:01 PM

Austria has a rule that no Austrian citizen may hold political office in a foreign country. So a few years ago they revoked Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian citizenship.

Aug. 23 2013 11:57 AM
RJ from prospect hts

My dad was born in Palestine in 1927. My mother was born Jewish in the US, which matrilineally makes me Jewish and therefore a citizen of Israel. I was born in the US. What is my citizenship status?

Aug. 23 2013 11:56 AM

Why is this a topic? I can't think of a reason why anyone would reject dual citizenship (outside of the politics of running for national office).

Aug. 23 2013 11:55 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I do believe anyone running for Congress or for the Presidency should renounce any other citizenship of any other country in order to be a candidate for Federal office. I do believe one has to be born in the US to be eligible to be president.

Aug. 23 2013 11:55 AM
Marie from Queens

I am a dual citizen of U.S. and Canada. My dad is Canadian, but I was born in the U.S. I would never consider renouncing either citizenship, because they give me so much more flexibility in terms of where I want to live and work. I also still have a lot of family up north.

Aug. 23 2013 11:54 AM
Lloyd from Manhattan

Is Cruz also a CUBAN citizen?

Aug. 23 2013 11:54 AM

If Cruz being born in a foreign country to an American mother makes him eligible for president, what on earth was the nonsense about Obama's birthplace? There was no doubt that his mother was American.

Aug. 23 2013 11:52 AM
jon young from Staten Island

Senator Cruz's national identity confusion should be viewed in the same way as that of Mr. (Ms.) Manning. If he wishes to be an American, let him. I just hope that the hormone treatment that Senator Cruz receives is not paid for by Obamacare.

Aug. 23 2013 11:52 AM

I was under the impression that in order to be considered a "natural born" citizen for the purposes of running for President, BOTH parents had to be US citizens when born abroad (except for children of diplomats and military servicepeople). This would make Cruz's renunciation irrelevant. The Constitution is not specific at all about this, but subsequent legislation has clarified this.

Aug. 23 2013 11:51 AM
carolita from nyc

Wait a minute. I don't need to see a birth certificate, because if he wasn't born IN America, how can he be a "natural born American citizen"? Obviously if he wasn't born here, he's not natural born. That's all I need to know. Obama was born here. That's all I need to know.

Aug. 23 2013 11:50 AM
Miscellaneous from NYC

Ellen: You've posted your comment on the wrong page.

Editor: Another failure to catch an improperly placed post.

Aug. 23 2013 11:33 AM
ellen from manhattan

Mr. Lehrer,
Manhattan's garbage does not now go through ANY OTHER BOROUGH. The trucks don't, the plants, nothing. Manhattan's garbage goes directly from Manhattan
to a waste-to-energy plant in NJ. All the building of the 91st St plant would do, besides closing a major sports and recreation center that hundreds of city schools and children use every week, is move 500 garbage trucks a day that currently use far more industrial avenues such as 9th, 10th and 11th to bring the garbage through the tunnel over to 3rd, 2nd, First, York, 79th, 86th, 96th, that whole neighborhood - which is so much more residential than where the trucks and garbage go now. The environmental justice issue is Ms.Quinn's devisive hope for misleading "outer borough" voters into considering her their champion. It's more than a red herring, it's a dead fish and you, of all people, should be now know that.

Aug. 23 2013 11:20 AM
Preston Arnswerthington III from Chaddersly-on-Stratford-on-Sweldonry

I wish this blowhard jerk would renounce his U.S. citizenship and leave the country. Then again, Texas gets what it deserves.

Aug. 23 2013 11:08 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Truth, per my previous comment, I'm not sure why that is addressed to me. Perhaps you meant just Mark.

The fact that Cruz was born outside the States to a non-citizen father, makes him illegible to run in my opinion.

Aug. 23 2013 11:07 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Given that Mr. Cruz is a dual citizen, he could just as easily renounce his American citizenship and run for office in Canada. Do we want someone like that as our president?

The reason the founding fathers put such stringent rules into the Constitution is that they knew that one's place of birth is pretty elemental to one's personality and that we can't have presidents who aren't 100% certain where their allegiance lies.

As is usual with republicans, Mr. Cruz does what is expedient rather than what is correct. Well, at least we're certain he's a politician...

This is not, by the way, to imply that all dual citizens are inconstant, but all do have choices to make that others of us do not.

Sheldon and Mark: According to the Constitution, Senators do have equal status. That is why there are two per state no matter the size of the population. Congress members, on the other hand, are elected based on the population of each state. If you read the Constitution, you will be amazed at the intelligence and prescience of those who drafted it.

Aug. 23 2013 10:49 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Actually Mark, a senator from Wyoming SHOULD have the same power as one from a State that simply feels it's more important. Bravo to the constitution for making it so.

Aug. 23 2013 10:27 AM
Mark from Manhattan

If the Constitution made sense, a senator from Wyoming wouldn't have the same power as one from California.

I admit that there is some debate about whether birth to American citizens constitutes being "a natural born Citizen." But there's nothing in the Constitution saying the President can't also be a citizen of another country (though that other country might object to the oath of office).

Aug. 23 2013 10:16 AM
Joe from nearby

Ted Cruz is eligible to run for the Canadian Parliament.

Only thing is, they don't want him. They like their healthcare system.

Aug. 23 2013 10:04 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Mark, I will take your word but it makes no sense for a child born of TWO US citizens, who happen to live abroad, not to be able to run for President.

Aug. 23 2013 10:02 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

I don't understand the foolish comments of "Dual Loyalty".

The key word is LOYALTY.

OTHOH, if someone is Loyal to an enemy of the US (enemy regimes like Socialist Russia/Cuba/Venezuela, Islamist regimes like iran, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qada, Hamas, Hezbullah, various Palestinian terrorist organizations), that is a problem.

Aug. 23 2013 09:47 AM
Mark from Manhattan

Sorry, Sheldon, but McCain was born on a U.S. naval base, which is considered U.S. soil. Please read the Constitution. I provided the relevant paragraph. The President (unless alive in 1789) must be "a natural born Citizen," i.e., a citizen by virtue of having been born on U.S. soil.

Aug. 23 2013 09:43 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Mark, John McCain wasn't born in the States.

I'm not sure what Cruz's deal is but if you happen to be born to US citizens, anywhere in the world you can run for the job, however - you can't if you are a dual citizen.

Aug. 23 2013 09:38 AM
john from office

Shelly, I am not a nuts as you think. I will rant later about "Dual Loyalty" soon, as in Israel-USA, who are you loyal to??. But, seriously, I am not as racist and reactionary as you, becky, negro socialist or Fuva think. I just state what I see around me.

I am a very loyal Obama man.

Aug. 23 2013 09:37 AM
Mark from Manhattan

How does giving up Canadian citizenship allow Cruz to be eligible to be elected President? Article II Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution states "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."

The Constitution doesn't care whether Cruz has dual citizenship; it cares where he was born (unless he was alive in 1789). He was born in Canada.

Aug. 23 2013 09:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think the only ones who should NOT be entitled to dual citizenship are the native aboriginal peoples, i.e. the "indians." Everyone else is an immigrant or offspring of settlers who came from different countries. Otherwise, what is wrong with being a dual citizen, unless the US is at war with that other country, or relations are hostile?

Aug. 23 2013 09:29 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

john from office,

Obama is not black. He is Multi-Racial.

Aug. 23 2013 09:26 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

John, someone hacked into your account.

Aug. 23 2013 09:18 AM
john from office

As the son of hispanic immigrants I find "ted" Cruz and Mr. Rubio troubling. They forget where they are from and seek power and office on the backs of the least powerful. Rafael Edwardo Cruz and Marco Rubio, soon to be called "Mark The Blonde", should be powerful voices for hispanics, not facist, looking to placate the white hate fed by the so-called "browning" of America and the election of Mr. Obama.

The big secret is that the Tea party and the rise of these "White" hispanics is caused by the continuing disbelief that a Black man is in the White House. Get over it! I will enjoy seeing the GOP, a party I belong to, implode and make itself irrevelant. All because of the hate of a black man.

Aug. 23 2013 08:20 AM

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