Washington - Conservative Christian groups that have wielded increased political clout in recent years are torn over immigration, facing the same kind of internal rift on the issue as the Republican Party.

Groups such as the Family Research Council must decide whether to stay loyal to their traditional memberships, which include many who oppose illegal immigration.

But that could hurt the groups' ongoing efforts to reach out to Latinos on such issues as defending traditional marriage, opposing abortion and supporting school vouchers.

"We've been getting a number of inquiries asking us to take a stand on immigration," said Tom McClusky, vice president of government affairs for the council, a leading social conservative group. "We're trying to find common ground without losing any of our main principles."

To that end, the council is holding a forum on immigration today at its Washington offices.

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