Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), a Harvard law graduate, has hired lawyers to help him out of his own immigration mess. Seems the right-wing Tea Party darling, whose father is Cuban and mother American, was born in Calgary which is very much in Alberta which is very much in Canada. Because he was born on Canadian soil Cruz is a Canadian citizen. With an American mother he is an American citizen.
None of this seemed to bother Cruz until he began hearing "Hail to the Chief" in his dreams. After all, right-wingers bang up on President Barack Obama over whether he was really born in Hawaii which is very much part of the United States.
But now the Harvard-educated Cruz hired lawyers to fill out a four-page form to renounce his Canadian citizenship. (Gosh, I'm not a Harvard-educated lawyer but I don't need to hire lawyers to fill out my passport renewal form. Is the form so complicated that he can't fill it out himself?) In his defense (defence if you're Canadian) Cruz released his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News months ago. There really can't be a serious question over whether he is an American citizen -- he is -- although he spent the first four years of his life in Canada.
Why doesn't Cruz embrace his status instead of going goofy? After all, Barack Obama isn't exactly a darling of Canadians. As a candidate in 2008 Obama called for renegotiation of NAFTA without understanding that the free trade treaty also benefits the United States (like giving us dibs on the Alberta oil reserves). He has done little, if anything, to strengthen ties with our Canadian cousins.
The United States and Canada share the world's longest undefended border. We are each other's best trading partners. American and Canadian troops fight and die side-by-side in Afghanistan and we have a mutual aerospace defense network. There is no reason to turn our backs, even if only symbolic. If Cruz becomes president while also a Canadian citizen does anyone seriously think Ottawa is going to tell him what to do?
Cruz is missing an important opportunity to embrace, not offend, our neighbors. We need to strengthen regional ties in an increasingly competitive world market. And Canada is not our enemy. There is no reason for Cruz to act like Chicken Little.
Well, maybe there is. Cruz, as a Canadian, is covered by universal health insurance. As a vehement critic of Obamacare Cruz might feel awkward in this situation. If he renounces Canadian citizenship, Cruz will have to settle for the taxpayer-funded "gold card" health care he gets as a member of Congress, eh?