90-Year-Old Utah Woman Denied ID Card for “Lack of Documentation”

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Renate McKitrick is ninety-years-old. She is a naturalized US citizen from Prussia, and she just wants to renew her ID.

McKitrick is being denied  an ID card in spite of the fact that she carries her naturalization paperwork, a copy of her mother’s passport, and her Polish birth certificate. In order to prevent people living in the country without legal status from obtaining state-issued ID cards, the State of Utah uses the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements or SAVE system, which screens for public benefits eligibility. Renate’s information isn’t in the system (she immigrated to the U.S. in 1925 by way of Ellis Island). Because her information isn’t available, her request for ID renewal was denied.

She was told to check back in July, but told Derek P. Jensen with the Salt Lake Tribune, “It’s dreadful that I’m being so harassed at my age with my handicap. I can’t see, I can’t walk very well. I just feel put upon. And I’ve lived here 88 years — always voted, paid my taxes, honored the flag.” McKitrick has macular degeneration, making it difficult for her to travel, and the burden of multiple trips is almost too much to bear.

McKitrick’s story has broader implications than many immigration reformers would like to admit. Esther Yu-Hsi Lee wrote this for Think Progress:

The implications for voting issues are huge for senior citizens who are unable to receive ID cards and sometimes even voter ID cards because they cannot prove their own residency. The failure to allow a nonagenarian citizen from getting medicine may not have been an intended aim of Utah’s law, but it highlights how strict documentation requirements affect naturalized citizens who are long-time voters, like Renate McKitrick.

Have you encountered issues with new documentation requirements?

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