ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Federal immigration policy and concerns about preserving New Mexico’s centuries-old Hispanic culture are at the forefront of congressional candidate forums this week, as six Democrats compete for an open Albuquerque-based seat in primary elections.

A Tuesday-night forum at the University of New Mexico is geared toward Albuquerque’s Latino community and will be moderated by Idalia Lechuga-Tena, a former state lawmaker who emigrated from Mexico as a child.

She says candidates will be welcome to speak in Spanish in a conversation likely to touch on the future of immigrants with temporary protected status and efforts to preserve New Mexico’s distinctive Hispanic heritage.

The field of Democratic candidates is marked by its ethnic, racial and social diversity. The sole Republican and Libertarian candidates are scheduled to attend Tuesday and Wednesday forums.

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