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New Mexico candidates blame politics for family separations

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — With no mention of President Donald Trump, candidates for an open congressional seat along the U.S. border in New Mexico blamed Washington politics for the separation of immigrant children from parents who are caught trying to come to the U.S. illegally. The zero tolerance policy on border security that led to the separations has rocked political campaigns in border states and sent Republicans on Capitol Hill frantically searching Tuesday for ways to end it. Water rights attorney Xochitl Torres Small, the Democratic candidate in New Mexico's sprawling 2nd Congressional District, said Tuesday that separating children from parents is immoral and Washington is to blame. "I won't stand for it." Republican Rep. Steve Pearce is not seeking re-election to the seat and is instead running for governor. Trump won the district in 2016 but lost statewide. State Rep. Yvette Herrell, the Republican candidate, said she supports Trump's zero-tolerance policy but described the separations as an unacceptable consequence of inaction by Congress. Homeland Security Department officials said Tuesday that 2,342 minors had been separated from parents from May 5 to June 9. Pearce has said it is almost never a good idea to separate children from families and that immigrant children need to be treated humanely and reasonably. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan, his Democratic competitor in the governor's race, accused the Trump administration of willfully creating inhumane consequences for immigrant children and parents.