Meet the Pinoy paralegal handling 21 Savage deportation case

Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2019 04:43 AM

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Raymond Partolan is not your typical paralegal. 

The 25-year-old works for Kuck Baxter Immigration, the firm handling the high-profile deportation case of 21 Savage.

He graduated summa cum laude in Mercer University as a full-scholarship student.

He's an advocate that's been consulting lawmakers and other groups in issues affecting the Asian-American community.

He's also a musician and a Grammy winner.

Partolan, who resides in Georgia, is doing all these while on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"For about 15 years, over half of my lifetime, I lived here in the United States without any kind of lawful status. It was until the age of 19 in 2012 when the DACA program began to give me some semblance of safety and security in the country," he said.

Partolan was also one of the voices on the John Daversa Big Band's "American Dreamers: Voices of Hope, Music of Freedom" album.

The winner of this year's best large jazz ensemble tells the story of DACA recipients.

"With the kind of attention that this album has gotten, people across the country are going to see and understand the kinds of struggles we as undocumented people have to face on a daily basis," Partolan said.

He also delivered a speech as Dreamers were honored at the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner last year.

Despite a life of success, the stress being undocumented had drove him to contemplating suicide.

"I tried to kill myself because I thought that was the only way that I was going to escape from the suffering that I was feeling as an undocumented person," he said.

The same week he won the Grammy, news broke that United Kingdom-born rapper 21 Savage was living in the country illegally.

Partolan has been aiding in finding relief for the hip-hop star, a story that hits close to home for him and his fellow musicians.

As the case plays out, he's chasing his next dream of being a full-fledged lawyer, a tall task for a Dreamer in his region.

Georgia is one of the many states that does not allow non-residents to practice law. But Partolan has faced the tough odds before and even at the worst of times, his dreams have always stayed alive.

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