14 October 2004
Questionable Immigration Myths David Cole's "Five Myths about Immigration," while not a persuasive argument, is obviously a personal issue for the author who believes Americans treat immigrants poorly. He introduces the reader to "Know Nothings," or "Native Americans," who blame every problem in America on the immigrants (Cole 189-90). In the introductory paragraph, Cole attempts to obtain the reader's sympathetic feelings as he writes with great passion when he describes the mistreatment his Irish Catholic immigrant ancestors endured (190). This in turn raises the question of how objective he could remain when presenting his arguments. Coles' attempts to disprove the five myths about immigrants are not effective as his tone is often too personal, clouding his judgment, and his statistics and some data are either lacking credibility or logic. The first myth is that "America is being overrun with immigrants" (190) and Cole uses statistics to contradict this belief, but they are not credible and cause the reader to question whether Cole looked at the whole picture (190). His statistical argument, "As of 1990, foreign born people made up only eight percent of the population, compared with [ ] fifteen percent from 1870 to 1920" (Cole190) appears convincing to the reader, but is misleading because eight percent of the population in the 1990's was significantly more than fifteen percent of the population in 1870 to 1920. Cole does not present accurate statistics to refute this first myth. For the myth "Immigrants take jobs from U.S. citizens" (190), Cole presents a report that states, "Immigrants actually create more jobs that they fill" (190-91). He uses data from a study to support his statement, but a common fear exists-- if the number of jobs is fixed and immigrants fill some of those jobs, fewer jobs will be available for the "natives." This fear is illogic to the reader because
Cited: Cole, David. "Five Myths about Immigration." Current Issues and Enduring Questions. Eds. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2005. 189- 192.