Rational discourse requires observance of a few simple procedural rules. One of the most basic is to use words and phrases in their commonly accepted senses and to refrain from distorting them for partisan purposes. Take 'chain migration.' According to Wikipedia, a usually reliable source,
Chain migration is a term used by demographers since the 1960s to refer to the social process by which migrants from a particular town follow others from that town to a particular destination city or neighborhood. The destination may be in another country or in a new, usually urban, location within the same country.
Chain migration can be defined as a “movement in which prospective migrants learn of opportunities, are provided with transportation, and have initial accommodation and employment arranged by means of primary social relationships with previous migrants.” Or, more simply put: "The dynamic underlying 'chain migration' is so simple that it sounds like common sense: People are more likely to move to where people they know live, and each new immigrant makes people they know more likely to move there in turn."
As you can see, 'chain migration' is a phrase that has been in use for a long time. It is no more a racist slur than 'black hole' is. Why then does Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D NY) say it is? You know the answer.
A more recent example comes in the novel claim that the term “chain migration” is a racist shibboleth. Chain migration is — or was — an utterly neutral term for the process by which legal immigrants sponsor members of their extended family to become citizens as well.
Rep Chris Murphy, D-Conn., tweeted recently, “Reminder: ‘chain migration’ is a made-up term by the hard-line anti-immigration crowd. Its purpose is to dehumanize immigrants. If you're using that word, you're declaring a side.”
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., refuses to even use the phrase. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., insists the term — which he used as recently as 2010 — is offensive because African Americans came here in chains. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, insists that " 'chain migration' is an epithet. It was invented. The term is ‘family immigration,’ and it’s the way America has literally always worked.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., made a figurative clown of herself when she literally said, “Let's be very clear: When someone uses the phrase 'chain migration,' it is intentional in trying to demonize families, literally trying to demonize families and make it a racist slur.”
This is just more evidence that our political opponents are not fellow citizens with whom we can have productive discussions. They are domestic enemies and we are in a war. You may not want to accept that. I didn't for a long time. But the fact is now unblinkable.
Don't imagine that you can reason with them. They will ignore what you say and go right back to the recitation of their defamatory litany: racist, white supremacist, xenophobe, . . . . You need to disembarrass yourself of the notion that they are basically decent people. They are not.