Painfully denied the privilege

I agree with Reps. Mark Hargrove and Matt Shea’s efforts on REAL ID compliance (“Time to get serious on REAL ID compliance,” Reporter, April 14). My family and I suffered the consequences of our state’s refusal to accept responsibility for national security via REAL ID.

Last August, we traveled back to Illinois to attend my mother’s funeral. She was to be buried alongside my father at the national cemetery within the Rock Island Arsenal, an active U.S. Army facility. During the funeral, the funeral director escorted our family to the Arsenal for the internment ceremony. After the brief ceremony was over, we were immediately escorted out of the Arsenal gates. We were told that this was the procedure, and to return we would have to come back through the military gates on our own.

When we returned later to visit my mom, dad and my mother-in-law’s grave sites, the Arsenal security guard denied us entry. We were told “Washington driver’s licenses do not qualify as a valid picture ID since Washington state does not require legal proof of residence to obtain it. Do you have other picture ID?” The thought never entered our minds that we should have brought our passports in order to visit our relatives’ grave sites.

We were so upset to realize that Washington state goes out of its way to give privileges to illegal immigrants rather than to only provide the nationally recognized ID for its own legal residents and U.S. citizens.

In the end, we left Illinois to come back home without the comfort of visiting the burial sites of our loved ones.

– Bob Starr

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