This doesn’t happen often, but I got a response from someone I don’t know who came across this page. I’m not sure who s/he is, but his/her screen name is “Fuzz T. Was.” I’m not able to enter a dialogue, but Fuzz T. Was makes some interesting points that I hope to accurately summarize.
A person is granted citizenship by two routes: by nature and by naturalization. A naturalized citizen is granted citizenship at some point after his birth and the rules for naturalization are governed by the nation. A natural born citizen is someone for whom citizenship is automatically granted and is beyond dispute.
In the United States a person is a natural born citizen by two routes: “Jus Soli” and “Jus Sanguis.” These are Latin terms and translate to “Law of the Soil” and “Law of the Blood.” A person who is born in the United States (states, territories, and holdings) is granted citizenship by law of the soil. Since President Obama was born in Hawaii, he is a citizen by law of the soil. A person was born outside the United States can still be a citizen if one of his/her parents was born in the United States. This person is not a citizen by law of the soil, but by the law of the blood (ie, your direct blood relative). Senator Cruz is a citizen by law of the blood because even though he was born in Canada, his mother was born in the United States. Both men’s citizenship is beyond dispute.
There is a good short article at FindLaw. If I’m reading this right, you can pass citizenship to your child through law of the blood only if you are a citizen by law of the soil or a naturalized citizen. This prevents someone who isn’t a citizen from tracing back to some ancestor who was born in the U.S. even if it was several generations back. If this is true and if someone like Ted Cruz marries a non US citizen, their children wouldn’t be citizens if they are not born in the U.S.
Fuzz T. Was, thank you for giving me the chance to think more about this.