‘Caught in bureaucratic catch-22 hell … She can’t get a photo ID either, without her birth certificate’
- Virginia McLaurin became a star after video of her dancing with the Obamas at the White House went viral
- She celebrated turning 107 in style with the Harlem Globetrotters last month
- Now, she is stuck in a catch-22 and can’t replace her long-long photo ID
- She’s been offered trips to New York and Los Angeles, but can’t get on a plane without a photo ID
A video of her jubilantly dancing with the Obamas at the White House won the hearts of millions and made her an internet star. And last month, Virginia McLaurin celebrated her 107th birthday in style by getting down with the Harlem Globetrotters.
But although media outlets are clamoring to interview her, offering trips to New York and Los Angeles, she can’t get on a plane – because she doesn’t have a government-issued photo ID.
And she’s struck in a bureaucratic catch-22 because she can’t get one without a birth certificate… and she can’t get a birth certificate without a photo ID.
Virginia McLaurin became a star after a video of her dancing with the Obamas went viral but the 107-year is now in a bureaucratic catch-22 and can’t get a government-issued photo ID
‘I don’t think I’ll ever get that face card,’
‘I was birthed by a midwife and the birthday put in a Bible somewhere. I don’t know if they even had birth certificates back then.’
McLaurin, who lives in northwest Washington, D.C., lost her original DMV photo ID when her purse was stolen many years ago.
She doesn’t remember exactly when it happened, but she recalls a group of three men approaching her and one snatching her purse off her shoulder while she waited at a bus stop.
‘I didn’t get any of my things back,’ she said. ‘Then I started putting off replacing them because I didn’t want to think about carrying around stuff that people would steal.’
Her experience with the DMV with trying to get it replaced recently have proved fruitless.
Virginia McLaurin, pictured with family and friends at her 107th birthday last month, had her DMV photo ID stolen many years ago
McLaurin (left, as a young woman, and right, posing next to her framed photo with the Obamas) moved to Washington, D.C., in the 1940s
When she and her son Felipe Cardoso went to meet with a supervisor, they were told that stricter guidelines for issuing IDs have been implement by the Department of Homeland Security.
An application for a birth certificate demands a $12 non-refundable fee and a copy of a government-issued photo ID. Applications received without proper identification are automatically rejected, according to the instructions.
McLaurin was issued a temporary ID by the DMV for when she leased her apartment last month – but it is not able to be used to obtain a birth certificate, permanent ID or plane ticket, Cardoso says.
‘She can’t understand how her picture could be in all those newspapers and all over the internet, how so many people could recognize her on the street and want to take selfies with her, and she can’t even get a photo ID,’ he told the Post.
And while McLaurin is able to vote in Washington without a photo ID, she is outraged that elderly citizens in around 30 other states might be denied the right to cast their ballots.
Despite her troubles, she is not sure she could handle a long flight anyway – and thinks achieving her lifelong dream of visiting the White House and dancing with the president in February is enough for her.
Last month, she celebrated her 107th birthday in style by getting down with the Harlem Globetrotters
Her life’s journey has taken her from the cotton fields of South Carolina to the White House. She has lived to see 18 American presidents but for her, Obama was the one she wanted to meet – and the opportunity to do so during Black History month made it all the more special for her.
The touching encounter, which saw a spry McLaurin waving her cane and breaking into a jig, quickly went viral.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle were in awe of McLaurin, who still volunteers 40 hours a week at the Roots Public Charter School.
‘What’s the secret to still dancing at 106?’ a shocked Obama asked McLaurin.
Later, the centenarian remarked: ‘I thought I would never live to get into the White House and I tell you, I am so happy.’
Beaming, she added: ‘A black president and a black wife – and I’m here for Black History Month.’