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Why Canadian-born Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen

To the editor: I have never quite understood why the citizenship issue for president has been so controversial. ("Question Ted Cruz should ask: Can a foreign-born American be president?," op-ed, Feb. 24)

There are only two "types" of U.S. citizens: native born and naturalized. Any and all native-born citizens over the age of 35 are eligible to be president. Someone born outside the U.S. to a parent who is a citizen (with some qualifications) is a native-born citizen; such a person has never in our history been required to become a naturalized citizen, but has always been recognized as a citizen at birth.

It's good that this issue might finally be made clear with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), someone the "birthers" would like and support. (By the way, I think he is clearly eligible.)

David Lynn, Agoura Hills

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To the editor: A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one non-citizen parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, provided the American parent was physically present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth.

For birth between Dec. 24, 1952, and Nov. 13, 1986, a period of 10 years — five after the age of 14 — is required for physical presence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.

Since Cruz entered the United States in possession of a United States passport, I presume his mother met the physical presence requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Stuart Shelby, Santa Monica

The writer is a retired immigration judge.

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