The primary business that the gangs engage in is illegal drug trafficking. Most illegal drugs are shipped into the U.S. from outside the country, with numerous paths crossing the border from Mexico. Mexico has seen far more than its share of gang-related violence over the past few years, with an estimated 60,000 killed in the drug cartel wars there in the past few years. That number is almost surely too low, because it does not take into account many killings that have taken place on the north side of the U.S.-Mexico border. There is strong evidence that at least some law enforcement on the U.S. side downplay cartel violence in their jurisdictions in order to make their crime statistics look better, so they can get re-elected, and keep federal crime grant money flowing their way.

The United States Department of Justice began designating U.S. cities that followed certain immigration-related policies “sanctuary cities” back in the 1980s. Chicago has been a “sanctuary city” since that designation was created. “Sanctuary cities” allow law enforcement to look the other way when immigration status might come up in the course of an investigation. To put things maybe a little too simply, illegal aliens know that once they reach a sanctuary city like Chicago they are for all intents and purposes home free from questions about their immigration status. The Latin Kings, MS-13 and other gangsters can recruit and import foot soldiers south of the border and rest assured that once in Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, the police will not query whether they are in the country legally or not. They are free to kill.

I’m not suggesting that all of Chicago’s current wave of violence is related to its sanctuary city policies. I am suggesting that some of it is, because that’s obvious. I am also suggesting that before the likes of Jesse Jackson demand “compromise” from law-abiding Americans who own guns, they should take a hard, honest look at the long-term effects of policies that they support. Sanctuary city policies exacerbate lawlessness from the border to thousands of points north. Do away with those policies and others that make our citizens and legal aliens less safe, before even thinking about cracking down on responsible Americans and their right to self-defense.