Raymond Partolan, 24, is five weeks into his new job as a paralegal at Kuck Immigration, an immigration law firm in Atlanta. His cubicle is pretty bare, save for a few hangings on the wall, including his bachelor’s degree from Mercer University in Macon.
Partolan is in the process of applying to law school, but as the Trump administration weighs the future of a program called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), which has protected young immigrants living in the U.S. without legal permission from deportation, he’s worried about planning for his own future.
“It's honestly scary because this program has created so many opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people across the country,” he said.
Earlier this summer, attorneys general in 10 states wrote a letter to the Trump administration saying they'd sue the administration if it didn’t rescind DACA by Sept. 5 – next Tuesday. They argued the program was unlawful and that the executive branch overreached its power. The Trump administration has said it’s continuing to review the program.
Partolan has had DACA protection since 2012 when President Barack Obama first created the program through an execution action. He said because of it, he's been able to drive and work legally for the last five years.
“More than anything, the DACA program has allowed me to truly live my life without any kind of fear or anxiety about what’s to come,” Partolan said. “It’s allowed me to live my life to my greatest potential.”
In Georgia, more than 24,000 people have been approved for the DACA program to date, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Some, including Partolan, fear if DACA is rescinded, the government would easily have access to information for thousands of young people they could deport.
Partolan has been in the United States since he was 1, when he came to Georgia from the Philippines with his parents. He grew up in Macon and went to high school and college there.
“Georgia – this is where I’ve grown up, and I’ve known no other home,” he said.
But as Tuesday approaches, he said it's hard to stay focused on what happens next for his own future. He's taking the Law School Admission Test in three weeks.
“It's really hard to go home and study for the LSAT when all of this is looming over me,” he said. “You live your life in a state of limbo – you never feel like you have control over your own fate."
If the program is rescinded, he said will try to remain hopeful and continue to fight to stay in the country.