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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo mentioned below that he had been reading Charles Portis’s Masters of Atlantis yesterday.  Portis wrote five novels altogether, and it’s a habit of mine that once I get it into my head to read one of them, I’ve got to read the other four in rapid succession.  This happens probably two or three times a year (this time through triggered by my cousin’s mention of his True Grit at Christmas dinner) and is something of a testament to how much I enjoy his writing. (Norwood is a pleasant afternoon’s read.  The sausage-flipping scene always caused the Mothe to have hysterics.  My favorite book of the group is probably The Dog of the South.)

Anyhoo, having finished up MOA, I immediately leapt over to Portis’s novel Gringos.  It’s a story about a group of American ex-pats in the Yucatan, several of whom are involved with the somewhat shadier side of Mayan archeology and artifacts.  (I have a theory that its protagonist, Jimmy Burns, is a somewhat autobiographical character, by the bye.)

Perhaps because immigration reform is causing so much tongue-swallowing among the talking heads these days, a particular little fact nugget in the book jumped out at me this time around, namely Article 33 of the Mexican Constitution.

Article 33 states:

“The Federal Executive shall have the exclusive power to compel any foreigner whose remaining he may deem inexpedient to abandon the national territory immediately and without the necessity of previous legal action.”

It also states:

“Foreigners may not in any way participate in the political affairs of the country.”

In other words, the President of Mexico can throw out any foreigner at any time and for any reason and without any due process.

Ol’ Robbo just thinks it’s interesting, given the hysterics over the proposition that U.S. immigration should be controlled by equitable rule of law, that such a genuinely arbitrary and capricious regime exists just across the border and that I wouldn’t even know about it except for the fact that I like the novels of Charles Portis.

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