"Police Officer Making Arrest" by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

In the face of President Donald Trump’s threats for an immigration overhaul, as well as increased U.S. immigration enforcement across the country, undocumented individuals will undoubtedly face greater threats of deportation, raids, and discrimination in the coming months. Despite the fact that, yes, the Obama administration set a record high for deportation of immigrants and therefore a precedent for future Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) activity, President Trump’s usage of executive orders has particularly targeted legislation designed to protect immigrants.

"The contents of a needle exchange kit" by Todd Huffman is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Under new legislation in Maryland, spaces will be provided for illegal narcotics to be ingested in clean facilities under the supervision of medical professionals. There are nearly 100 such facilities worldwide, largely in Europe, where they have existed since the early 1980s. In the United States, where rates of accidental death from opioid overdose have “quadrupled since the late 1990s,” these facilities are still largely a controversial possibility.

"No Loitering" by nathanmac87 is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

Food Not Bombs, a grassroots organization focused on food justice, are facing their second round of legal battles this month after their demonstration in Tampa, Florida, that led to the arrests of seven activists. Other organizations in Tampa have faced similar action or threats by the local authorities over their illegal behavior – feeding homeless people in a public place without a permit.

"The Slants" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

In 2006, Simon Shiao Tam founded the Asian-American band The Slants.  As the group became increasingly successful, Tam opted to pursue federal trademark protection for the band name. Trademark protection is important for both producer and consumer; the producer can feel confident that no one is unfairly capitalizing on the fruits of their labor, and the consumer can be sure that the product that they are purchasing is the one that they intend to purchase; they can be sure that it is not a product produced by an imposter using the same name.  If granted the trademark protection, Shiao’s Asian-American band would own exclusive rights to the name The Slants.  

"SQ Lethal Injection Room" by California Department of Corrections is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

In the early hours of the morning, on November 8th, 1994, Casey Wilson was working his shift at a Circle K in Huntsville, Alabama.  That morning, 23-year-old Ronald Bert Smith Jr. came into the station with the intention to rob it.  He pistol-whipped Wilson and forced him to the convenience store restroom where he shot him.  Wilson died of his wounds.  To avoid detection and identification, Smith removed the store’s surveillance videotape from that night and brought it with him.

"Chainlink Prison Fence" by Jobs for Felons Hub is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

On November 22nd, President Obama reduced the prison sentences of 79 drug offenders. This is the latest in a burst of clemencies he has awarded during his last year in office. Traditionally, there is a burst of clemencies towards the end of a president’s term, when there are fewer political hurdles and relationships to maintain, but this week’s sentence reductions bring Obama past the 1,000 clemency mark – more than the past 11 presidents put together.

"Fremantle Prison" is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikipedia)

It is now common knowledge that education, whether prior or during a prison inmate’s sentence, is one of the most impactful factors in reducing recidivism, a revolving door phenomenon that sees two-thirds of prisoners return to prison. This phenomenon exacerbates the state of the largest prison population in the world, and locks away more than one in six of America’s Black men.

"Prison Fence" by jodylehigh is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Pixabay)

The United States tends to exhibit a great nationalistic pride in its democracy. And so generally, we assume that any U.S. citizen over the age of 18 is eligible to vote. Yet this right can be taken away permanently if one is convicted of a felony, the most common of which being drug-related. Ironically, the United States, proudly deemed the “Land of the Free,” has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Yet it still may be shocking to consider that [a]pproximately 2.5 percent of the total U.S. voting age population1 of every 40 adultsis disenfranchised due to a current or previous felony conviction.

"WorcesterMassBar" is licensed under Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

When you are accused of a crime, likely of chief concern will be that your jury will treat you fairly. Once the jury is presented with the facts and are briefed on how to understand the law, they go off to deliberate. How the jury deliberates from there is up to them, and you trust that they follow the judge’s instructions and don’t hold any biases they may have against you.

All Images by Conner Gordon

Editor’s Note: This piece contains explicit language. Additional reporting by Amy Brown.

Bree, an African-American resident of Ferguson, Missouri, says he has been involved in activism for years. For the time being, that means selling buttons condemning the presidential candidates, namely Donald Trump, to passersby at a Ferguson strip mall. On a good day, he sells around 70 of the buttons, and, despite their politically charged content, he said rarely runs into any controversy – in majority black neighborhoods, at least.

“I keep myself in areas where my reception’s gonna be pretty cool,” Bree said. “Believe me, the whiter the area, the more of a problem I get.”