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Conservative, red-state Republican connects faith, immigration

It hasn't generated much attention, but many American faith communities have been deeply involved in the fight over immigration reform this year, with most religious traditions coming out in strong support for comprehensive, bipartisan legislation.

With this in mind, it's worth noting that this extends outside the pews. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) of Alabama talked to his constituents this week about how his faith helps shape his perspective on the pending legislation.

"Y'all may think I'm copping out, but with my Christian faith, it's hard for me to say that I'm gonna divide these families up.... Bring 'em into our system. Give them legal status. They will pay Social Security. They'll work hard. [...]

"I'll tell you this, as your Congressman, I am not gonna separate families or send them back."

The larger context is worth keeping in mind. Just last year, Bachus not only faced a primary opponent, he was challenged by the architect of Alabama's state-based anti-immigrant laws.

And Bachus doesn't just represent a red district in a red state, he represents Alabama's 6th -- which has a partisan-voting index rating of R+28, making it the fifth reddest district in the nation.

But Bachus is nevertheless willing to take a constructive and compassionate line on immigration. While so many of his GOP colleagues would eagerly "divide these families up" and "send them back," this Alabama Republican, citing his faith, rejects such cruelty.

If Spencer Bachus can do this in redder-than-red Alabama, plenty of other nervous Republicans can do the same thing.