REVEALED: Pro-Border Security Arizona Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Fred Duval Founded Think Tank That Blasted ‘Vindictive’ Punishments For Illegal Border Crossers

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Democratic Arizona gubernatorial candidate Fred Duval is advocating for stronger border security. But Duval previously founded a think tank that condemned “vindictive” punishments against illegal border crossers, records reveal.

Duval, an energy executive and former Clinton White House official, is currently locked in a dead heat with Republican Doug Ducey in his race for the governorship, less than six weeks to go until Election Day.

The Duval campaign’s official immigration plan promises an effort of “Fighting Border Crime” with 13 different steps. Though Duval supports immigration reform, he promised to be tough on illegal immigration across the border. “I will crack down on the greedy smugglers and coyotes that profit from unlawful immigration,” Duval vowed. “I will require every single CEO who receives a contract or grant from the State of Arizona to file a signed, sworn certification that they use E-Verify.”

Duval even recently implored President Obama to visit Arizona’s border with Mexico to witness the lack of security there.

“I’m glad the president continues to speak out, but the reality is that the federal government — administration after administration — has failed to secure our border,” Duval said.

But Duval founded the shortlived liberal think tank Western Progress in Phoenix in 2007, according to Arizona Corporation Commission records. Duval also served as the think tank’s president of the board. The think tank disparaged policies that punish illegal border crossers.

“Progressives in the Rocky Mountain States often despair of seeing federal immigration reform that is practical, humane, enforceable, and serves the economic needs of the United States,” according to Western Progress’ manifesto on immigration.

“Unfortunately, too many members of Congress seek vindictive strategies that punish those who have crossed illegally, while at the same time creating unreasonable roadblocks that prevent foreigners from entering legally to reunite with families and take jobs that American employers need filled,” according to the think tank.

The think tank noted the “environmental degradation caused by millions of people tramping across both private and public lands” while illegally immigrating, but made clear that immigration reform policies like the kind currently being pursued by the Obama administration would make things better.

“Take for example, the economics of educating the children of undocumented immigrants. Many of these children are U.S. citizens, and the rest are unlikely to return to their parents’ home country. They are children who can grow up to be taxpaying, contributing members of our communities. Surely we want them to fulfill their highest capability,” according to the think tank. “… And what about health care? The Bush Administration has reversed its policy, now allowing infants born to illegal immigrant mothers to be automatically covered by Medicaid for one year. Western Progress applauds that decision.”

So what else did Duval’s think tank advocate for?

It was not a fan of capital gains tax cuts.

“Tax changes enacted in Washington the past few years have also greatly favored the wealthy and paved the way to frightening deficits.  Efforts to make those tax cuts permanent will only widen the gulf between the affluent and the middle class and poor.  Among the most inequitable of the tax changes have been reductions in tax rates on capital gains and dividends.”

It was a big fan of universal health care.

“Western Progress urges the Federal Government to step up to the plate.  Many advocates believe the ultimate answer will be universal health care. In the meantime, Senators Russ Feingold and Lindsey Graham have re-introduced the Reform Health Care Now Act and are working to reintroduce the State-Based Health Care Reform Act, which would help states determine the best way to extend health care coverage to all their citizens.”

It thought global warming would bring on drought and wildfires.

“Global warming is expected to make it far more difficult for the region to meet its water needs. In addition, it is likely that periods of drought will become more severe, as will wildfires. Anyone with lingering doubts that human activity is causing climate change should read the 2007 report to policymakers by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

Western Progress shut down in 2008 due to lack of donors and officially dissolved the following year.

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Patrick Howley