A document uncovered by Breitbart News indicates that the parents of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) were named on a Calgary list of electors for Canada’s federal election of July 8, 1974.
Ted Cruz’s parents are listed as “Cruz, Eleanor, Mrs.” and “Cruz, Raphael, self employed,” both at 920 Riverdale Avenue, South West in Calgary, Alberta.
Canadian law restricts (and restricted) federal voting rights to Canadian citizens.
In a statement to Breitbart News—the full text of which follows this article—Jason Johnson, chief strategist for Cruz for President, said that “the document itself does not purport to be a list of ‘registered Canadian voters.’ All this might conceivably establish is that this list of individuals (maybe) lived at the given addresses. It says nothing about who was a citizen eligible to vote.”
Johnson added: “Eleanor was never a citizen of Canada, and she could not have been under the facts or the law. In short, she did not live in Canada long enough to be a Canadian citizen by the time Cruz was born in 1970: Canadian law required 5 years of permanent residence, and she moved to Canada in December 1967—only 3 years before Senator Cruz’s birth.”
The document is a “preliminary list of electors,” and not a record of those who actually voted. Such lists were also prone to error, according to Breitbart News sources.
At the time, voters’ lists in Canada were compiled through “enumeration” by registrars going door-to-door.
According to Elections Canada–the independent, non-partisan agency that runs Canadian elections–“voters were sent a copy of the list showing the name, address and occupation of all voters in the relevant poll.”
Mistakes were frequent (i.e. “Raphael” instead of “Rafael”), and voters were given the opportunity to fix errors.
Ezra Levant, a Canadian conservative journalist who was born and raised in Calgary, recalled the process of enumeration.
“It was like a census… they were very quick and non-obtrusive visits, someone standing in your doorstep,” he told Breitbart News via e-mail. “They certainly didn’t ask for ID.
“It is not surprising to me that there may be a spelling error in someone’s name. A name appearing on the list would not necessarily indicate that they were a citizen, or that they themselves had even spoken to the enumerator—someone else in the household may have spoken for them,” Levant added.
Cruz’s father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, has confirmed taking Canadian citizenship.
The Cruz campaign told Breitbart News on Friday that Cruz’s American-born mother, Eleanor Elizabeth Wilson (née Darragh), had never done so.
“She was in Canada on a work permit and never became a permanent resident, let alone a citizen,” Johnson said.
“She never registered to vote and never applied for Canadian citizenship.”
Canadian immigration authorities declined a request by Breitbart News for additional documents, citing Canadian privacy laws.
Under U.S. law, Cruz would have inherited his citizenship at birth in 1970 from his mother, provided she remained a U.S. citizen. She likely would have retained her U.S. citizenship even if she had become a naturalized Canadian citizen, though Canadian law required naturalized citizens formally to renounce all foreign allegiances until 1973.
The home at which Ted Cruz’s parents were listed by registrars is different from the home in which they lived when he was born.
Breitbart News spoke to the current homeowner at the Riverdale Avenue address, who said that the home, built in 1960, had two previous owners, neither of which was the Cruz family.
At the time of Ted Cruz’s birth, the Cruz family had lived in what the National Post has described as a “stucco-walled, Spanish-colonial-style Calgary home” near the Foothills Medical Centre, roughly six miles northwest of the Riverdale Avenue home.
Journalist Gillian Steward, who socialized with the Cruz family at the time, told Breitbart News that the Cruz family had rented the home near the hospital.
“I knew that she was an American and he was Cuban,” she said of Ted Cruz’s parents, noting that it was common for foreigners to be in town without becoming citizens, especially working in the oil industry.
She said she knew them well for “about a year” around the time when Ted Cruz was born, when she also had a daughter, but lost touch after that.
In his recent book, A Time for Truth: Reigniting the Promise of America, Sen. Cruz writes that his parents met through work and moved to Canada together:
“After meeting each other at Geocom in New Orleans, my parents had moved to Canada to continue working in the oil and gas industry. They formed their own seismic data processing company to help oil companies search for new reserves. They were both mathematicians and computer programmers, and together they wrote the proprietary software for their business. The name of the company was R.B. Cruz and Associates.” (p. 30)
Sen. Cruz adds (p.31) that he remembers little else from his childhood in Calgary, though his parents were drinking heavily, and his father “left my mother and me in December 1974.”
The elder Cruz had a religious awakening in Houston the following year and returned to his family: “Shortly thereafter they sold their business in Calgary [in 1975] and moved us down to Houston, where my mother also became a born-again Christian. Both of them quit drinking, and their lives were transformed.” (p. 32)
Steward told Breitbart News that it was unusual for Americans working in the country to seek Canadian citizenship.
She said she knew many Americans who have “been here a long, long time” without seeking Canadian citizenship, apparently for fear of compromising their American citizenship.
In 2013, Steward recalled her relationship with the Cruz family in an article in the Toronto Star, writing that “Eleanor was very much a reserved east coast American who never seemed really at home in Calgary.”
“It seems kind of weird that they would want to vote,” she told Breitbart News. “I don’t remember a lot of political discussions or anything like that.”
“Most Americans who come to work here—they’re just not that interested in local politics because it doesn’t mean anything to them. It doesn’t change their life.”
Immigration attorney Joshua Goldstein told Breitbart News that Ted Cruz would still be a natural-born citizen, and eligible for the presidency, even if his mother had taken Canadian citizenship, whether before or after his birth.
“She could vote in Canada, and it wouldn’t affect her U.S. citizenship,” he added.
“The fact that his mother might have been Canadian at birth, as well as American at birth, would be irrelevant.”
The Cruz campaign offered the following statement exclusively to Breitbart News, presented in full (original emphasis):
Eleanor was never a citizen of Canada, and she could not have been under the facts or the law. In short, she did not live in Canada long enough to be a Canadian citizen by the time Cruz was born in 1970: Canadian law required 5 years of permanent residence, and she moved to Canada in December 1967—only 3 years before Senator Cruz’s birth. Nothing in the document you sent shows anything to the contrary.
First, the document itself does not purport to be a list of “registered Canadian voters.” All this might conceivably establish is that this list of individuals (maybe) lived at the given addresses. It says nothing about who was a citizen eligible to vote.
The document itself states that it is a “preliminary list of electors” subject to “corrections in, deletions from and additions to the said preliminary list.”
And corrections, deletions, and additions were commonplace because of the informal process by which names were gathered: As the document makes clear, names were “enumerated during a recent house to house visitation . . . by a pair of urban enumerators.” In other words, clerical staff would go door-to-door and collect names and addresses—even if people weren’t home, and even if they weren’t citizens of Canada.
Second, the document is from 1974. That is four years after Senator Cruz was born, so even if this document said anything about citizenship—and it does not—it would be irrelevant to the citizenship status of his mother at the time of his birth, which is the only relevant status for determining Cruz’s natural-born citizenship.
Third, Eleanor was never a citizen of Canada; she never applied for Canadian citizenship or permanent residence. Instead, she spent her time in Canada under a work permit.
Fourth, even if Eleanor had wanted to become a citizen of Canada, she could not have become a citizen by the time of Cruz’s birth in 1970 because she had not lived in Canada for long enough. Under Canadian law (see attached statute), a person may apply to become a citizen if they (a) are a permanent resident and (b) have “resided in Canada for at least five of the eight years immediately preceding the date of the application.”
Eleanor never became a permanent resident. Eleanor had lived in Canada for only three years by the time Cruz was born (from 1967 to 1970). Note that Cruz’s father, Rafael did become a Canadian citizen in 1973; Eleanor never did and therefore could never have registered to vote.
Regardless of Canadian law, under U.S. law—which is ultimately all that matters—you do not give up U.S. citizenship without the express intent to do so. Eleanor never gave up her U.S. citizenship and the U.S. government has always recognized her as a U.S. citizen, since her birth in Delaware.
Finally, top constitutional lawyers in the country under Presidents Obama (Neal Katyal) and Bush (Paul Clement) conclusively agree that “[d]espite the happenstance of birth across the border, there is no question that Senator Cruz has been a citizen from birth and is thus a ‘natural born Citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution” because he was born of an American-citizen mother.
There is no question that Eleanor was born in Delaware as an American citizen.
And as described above, Eleanor never relinquished her citizenship, so she was a U.S. citizen when Senator Cruz was born, and he is a natural-born citizen under the Constitution.