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Cruz hopes to 'soon' renounce Canadian citizenship

| Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, 6:12 p.m.
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2013 file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Cruz said he would renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of 2013, but the Calgary-born Republican lawmaker is still a dual citizen. Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the tea party darling from Texas, said Saturday, Jan. 5, 2014 that lawyers are preparing the paperwork. Fraizer’s response comes after a Canadian immigration attorney said the process was simple and wondered about the delay. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

AUSTIN — Canada-born Sen. Ted Cruz has yet to renounce his birth country's citizenship as promised — but a spokeswoman said Saturday that the Tea Party darling plans to have that finished soon.

Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the junior senator from Texas, said lawyers are preparing the necessary paperwork.

The 43-year-old Cruz “has been fully focused on fighting for Texans' values and interests in the Senate for the last year,” Frazier said via email. “He looks forward to the process being completed soon.”

Cruz hasn't been in office for a year, but already helped spark the budget fight that led to a partial government shutdown in October, and is being mentioned as a possible 2016 Republican presidential contender.

Frazier's response comes after Canadian immigration attorney Richard Kurland suggested Friday that the process is relatively simple and quick. Kurland wondered what is taking Cruz so long.

Amid questions this summer about his eligibility for the White House, Cruz released his birth certificate in August to the Dallas Morning News and pledged to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Cruz said then that his mother had been told he would have to take affirmative action to claim Canadian citizenship — and the fact he automatically received it at birth was news to him.

“If he's attempting to bring our system into disrepute by suggesting it's lengthy and complex, it's just not true,” said Kurland, who's based in Vancouver. “Revocation is one of the fastest processes in our system.”

The citizenship issue is a thorny one for Cruz, since some conservatives accused President Obama of being born in Kenya and thus not eligible to be president. Obama is an American citizen; his father was Kenyan, his mother American and he was born in Hawaii.

Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1970, while his parents were working in the Canadian oil business. His mother, Eleanor, was born in Delaware, while his father, Rafael, is a Cuban who didn't become a U.S. citizen until 2005.

The Constitution says only a “natural born citizen” may be president. Legal scholars, though, generally agree the description covers foreign-born children of U.S. parents. Canada, like the United States, gives automatic citizenship to anyone born on its soil.

Previous foreign-born Americans — notably Republicans John McCain and George Romney — have run for president with some mention but no serious challenges of their eligibility.

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