By Amir Al Tamimi
EL CAJON–An Iraqi immigrant who came to the United States in 1976 is now helping refugees from his country on their roads to citizenship.
Steven Nazar Garmo had immigrated with his parents to Michigan, where he received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1986 and a law degree from the University of Detroit in 1990.
“From the beginning, I wanted to do something that helped people,” he said. “I believe what I learned from my family of four lawyers and business owners was not just to do your part in helping others but to provide exceptional customer service with fairness, honesty, integrity and hard work.”
In Michigan, he worked with the Chaldean Federation of America as a volunteer concentrating on helping Chaldeans (Iraqi Christians) who fled Iraq after assisting the U.S. military in the two Gulf Wars. He consulted with the office of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan) in drafting legislation on refugees that was signed into law in 2008 by then President George W. Bush.
Now an attorney based in El Cajon, with one son attending Grossmont College, a daughter attending Valhalla High School, and another son at the University of Michigan, Garmo said that legislation provides help to Iraqis inside and outside of the United States, in particular those needing to have their orders of deportation officially reviewed.
In 2007, Garmo worked on a bill that would have made it easier for Iraqi Christians to immigrate to the United States, but the legislation foundered in the House of Representatives after passing the Senate.
At his law offices at 124 W. Main Street, Suite 200, in El Cajon, Garmo provides pro bono services to refugee and other members of the community. Anyone needing immigration help may walk into his offices in either San Diego or Detroit to receive a free five-minute consultation on any Thursday from 3 to 5 p.m.
Garmo has spoken at immigration seminars around the world and has published papers in Arabic and English on U.S. Immigration Law. He said an article he wrote on the processing of visas has served as a guide for U.S. Embassies in Jordan, Syria and Iraq.
Garbo’s first wife, Linda, died of breast cancer in 2004. Subsequently marrying Vilda, Garbo added Andrew and Anthony, her two sons by a previous marriage, to his family.
Tamimi is a student in Media Comm 132A. He may be contacted at email@example.com