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02/18/2016

Gabriel Chin on Ted Cruz and Natural Born
Michael Ramsey

At Prawfsblawg, Gabriel Chin raises a statutory objection to Ted Cruz's eligibility: The Missing Discussion of Race and Xenophobia in the Ted Cruz Citizenship Controversy.  Even assuming Congress has the constitutional power to define natural born citizens to include those born abroad to U.S. citizen parents (as I have argued), there remains

the question of whether Congress actually exercised this power to benefit Senator Cruz.  Evaluation of that question requires recognizing the racism, sexism, and xenophobia dominating U.S. citizenship (and immigration) law from the founding until the civil rights revolution.  For example, the naturalization acts of 1790 and 1795 restricted naturalization to "free white persons," a qualification in effect for more than a century and a half.  Reading the relevant legal materials in light of these traditions raises doubt that Congress granted natural born status to people in Ted Cruz's situation.