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Protecting Refugees and Immigrants

The firm serves clients from around the world who are seeking protection and safety, including asylum seekers escaping violence in their home countries, victims of human trafficking, and unaccompanied immigrant children. In the United States, even the most vulnerable immigrants are not appointed counsel by the government, making pro bono support vital for those navigating complex immigration proceedings.

Representative Matters

Family Separation Cases

In partnership with the Southern Poverty Law Center, we represent seven families in lawsuits seeking damages for harms suffered under the Trump Administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the southern border.

Preserving DACA

In 2017, the Department of Homeland Security announced it was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to live and work legally in United States, Covington quickly filed suit on behalf of the University of California and UC President Janet Napolitano, arguing that such a move violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because it was arbitrary and capricious and did not comply with APA procedural requirements. Following a briefing and hearing argued by Covington, a district court entered a nationwide preliminary injunction ordering the government to reinstate DACA. Covington then defeated an effort by the government to skip review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in order to obtain immediate relief from the Supreme Court. The Ninth Circuit later affirmed the district court’s entry of a preliminary injunction. In June 2020, the Supreme Court struck down the Trump Administration’s attempt to rescind DACA, allowing 650,000 DACA recipients to remain in the United States. For a recorded discussion of this historic result here.

Defending Sanctuary Cities

We represent the City of Los Angeles in an ongoing lawsuit to prevent the U.S. federal government from conditioning grant funding on the City’s assistance with federal immigration enforcement.

Immigration Relief for Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Children

Each year, the firm represents hundreds of individuals seeking immigration relief in the U,S, and Europe. Since 2017, our London office has partnered with Kids in Need of Defense’s UK program, successfully securing leave to remain in the U.K. on behalf of dozens of children and helping them take steps towards greater family stability. In the U.S., the firm represents undocumented children who have escaped, often alone, abusive situations in their home countries. Our attorneys help children remain in the United States by seeking various forms of immigration relief, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The firm also represents individuals in applying for fear-based asylum immigration relief. In 2020, Covington received Human Rights First’s Martin E. Frankel Award for outstanding pro bono service to asylum seekers.

Reversal of DHS Arbitrary Detention of Asylum Seekers

The firm successfully represented a class of asylum seekers, together with the ACLU and other groups, to challenge the government's arbitrary detention of asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their countries of origin. Federal law generally requires that asylum seekers be released on parole pending their asylum hearings if they are neither flight risks nor dangers to the community, and further requires that ICE provide case-by-case parole reviews to assess those factors. Based on historical statistical and other evidence, we argued that the government had adopted a de facto no-parole policy and was no longer conducting the individualized parole reviews required by law, We secured a preliminary injunction requiring the government to conduct bona fide case-by-case parole reviews. The decision follows from a related preliminary injunction that we and the ACLU obtained on behalf of a class of detained asylum seeking families in 2015.

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