Ted Cruz releases his birth certificate: A harbinger of debates to come?

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks about immigration during the DC March for Jobs in Upper Senate Park near Capitol Hill, on July 15, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

According to legal scholars, it's fairly clear that the fact that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was born in Canada doesn't disqualify him from running for president.

"It's pretty clear that he's eligible because he was a citizen at birth," Peter Spiro, a law professor at Temple University who specializes in constitutional and immigration law, told

University of California, Davis law professor Gabriel Chin agreed "there's no question" that Cruz has been a U.S. citizen from birth.

In fact, Cruz's eligibility is even more cut-and-dry than Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's eligibility was in 2008, Chin argues. Still, as Cruz started gaining notoriety within the conservative community, his presidential potential was at times mentioned alongside his ""birther" background. The issue finally reached a point this week where Cruz released his birth certificate (check it out here), as well as a statement saying that his allegiance is with America.

"The Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship," he said in the statement Monday night. "Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I'm an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American."

The debate over Cruz's eligibility has been driven in large part by the obvious irony of the situation: Some of his likely supporters are the very same people who persistently questioned President Obama's origins. While there doesn't seem to be any uncertainty about Cruz's eligibility - and there were never any legitimate questions about Mr. Obama, since he was born in Hawaii - the constitutional requirement for the president to be a natural-born citizen may only become more problematic in future elections.

"It's no coincidence that most of these issues have come up in modern times," Chin said. "We are in an era of high immigration, we're certainly in an era of world travel and globalization, so the fact that somebody is of Cuban ancestry is certainly not disqualifying to be president."

Spiro noted that temporarily working abroad, as Cruz's parents were in Canada, is much more common now. "There's much more cross-border movement now, so the odds of something happening like this - a person emerging who would be a good president but was born abroad - are increasing," he said.

Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada in 1970 to a Cuban father and American mother.

"Because my mother was a U.S. citizen, born in Delaware, I was a U.S. citizen by birth," Cruz explained in his statement Monday night. "When I was a kid, my Mom told me that I could choose to claim Canadian citizenship if I wanted. I got my U.S. passport in high school. Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter."