CONROE, Texas — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, born in Calgary in 1970, said Monday he would give up any claim he might have to Canadian citizenship.

In a written statement, Cruz said he did not realize he was eligible for dual citizenship until The Dallas Morning News reported that his birth in Canada made him eligible for citizenship there. 

“Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship,” Cruz said. “Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. senator, I believe I should be only an American.”

Questions have been raised about Cruz’s eligibility to become president of the United States. Under the U.S. Constitution, only “natural born” Americans are eligible. Cruz’s father was Cuban at the time of his birth, but his mother was born in the United States and was a citizen when he was born. That made Cruz automatically eligible for U.S. citizenship — and hence makes him a natural-born American, he says.

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“Because my mother was a U.S. citizen, born in Delaware, I was a U.S. citizen by birth,” Cruz said in the statement.

Cruz, who embarked on a two-week swing of Texas on Monday while Congress is in recess, says he is focused on being a senator. But his recent trip to Iowa, which holds the first presidential caucus, and his planned jaunt Friday to New Hampshire, which traditionally holds the first primary, has fueled speculation that he will launch a bid for the White House in 2016.

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