TORONTO (AP) — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz vowed months ago to renounce his Canadian citizenship by the end of 2013, but the Calgary-born Republican is still a dual citizen.
Cruz, 43, recently said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News that lawyers are preparing the paperwork to renounce citizenship, just as he said in August.
Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration attorney, wonders what's taking so long. Kurland said Friday that unless there's a security or mental health issue that hasn't been disclosed, renouncing citizenship is a simple, quick process.
The thorny issue of the Tea Party darling's birthplace has been a headache for the senator, since some in the neo-conservative movement had accused President Obama of being born in Kenya and thus not eligible to be U.S. president. Obama's father was Kenyan, his mother American.
Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, is eyeing a run for president in 2016.
"If he's attempting to bring our system into disrepute by suggesting it's lengthy and complex, it's just not true. Revocation is one of the fastest processes in our system," said Kurland.
Stephen Green, an immigration lawyer in Toronto, was equally perplexed.
"It's not complicated at all," said Green, whose firm, Green and Spiegel, reached out to offer help to Cruz at one point but never received a reply from the senator's office.
"They make sure you understand what you're doing, that you're not going to become a stateless person, and then you're rock 'n' roll, and good to go. I would assume that if he's retained counsel, this could have been done by now."
Canada's best-known citizenship renouncer, media magnate Conrad Black, said in an e-mail Friday that it "doesn't take long" for the revocation process to work.
He added Cruz may come to regret the move.
"He's making a mistake; he'll never go higher in the U.S. electoral system than he is now, and Canada's a better governed country than the U.S.," said Black, who gave up his Canadian citizenship in 2001 in order to accept a peerage in the British House of Lords.
Cruz's office didn't immediately respond for a request for comment.
Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, when his parents were working in the Canadian oil business. His mother, Eleanor, is a native-born American, while his father, Rafael, is a Cuban who didn't become a U.S. citizen until 2005.
Under U.S. law, a child born to an American parent gets automatic citizenship even if the birthplace is beyond U.S. borders. Canada, like the United States, also gives automatic citizenship to anyone born on its soil.
Even though law works the same way in both countries, Cruz has said the news that he possessed dual citizenship came as a surprise to both him and his parents earlier this year.
The lawmaker insists his mother was told when he was a child that her boy would have to take affirmative action to claim Canadian citizenship.
"There was no reason to retain counsel to analyze Canadian law, because it wasn't relevant to anything I was doing," Cruz told the Dallas Morning News.
Kurland said he is skeptical.
"He's a Harvard-educated lawyer so what's the problem? It's elementary."
About 140 Canadian citizens a year renounce their citizenship, according to government figures. Many do so because some countries, such as China and Indonesia, don't allow dual citizenship.