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Mia Love, House Speaker Paul Ryan sit down for exclusive interview with FOX 13 News

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-12 22:32:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY - The bond of collegial affection between U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wi) and Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) is obvious when the two greet each other.

Speaker Ryan is in town supporting Love's campaign for re-election in Utah's Fourth Congressional District.

"He's my mentor," said Love. "Also my big brother."

Ryan added something showing he's been studying up on Mormon culture.

"Now I'm her D.C. home teacher," said Ryan, referring to one of the common 'callings' assigned to members of a Mormon Ward.

After his run for Vice President and before his Speakership, Ryan took on the responsibility of guiding Love through her Freshman term in the House.

"She's been put into really key places of leadership to make a big difference," said Ryan, noting specifically the Financial Services Committee where he says Love has been a big part of the Republican "poverty agenda."

The two shared cautious optimism about the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"North Korea has been a big threat to the United States for a long time and so the fact that we actually have the President that's there, that's having these conversations, I just wanted to point out is a big step in the right direction," said Love.

"The president deserves credit for that. We also must be cognizant of the history of North Korea which is they have been deceitful and duplicitous in prior agreements," Ryan added.

But they're not lock-step on everything.

Love has split with Ryan on immigration. The Utah Representative was among the first Republicans to sign a so-called 'discharge petition' meant to force a vote to renew protections for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children, commonly called dreamers.

"Mia has an independent streak. That's what we like in her," said Ryan.

But Ryan is returning to Washington as much of the nation, and all of his Democratic colleagues, are in an uproar over the separation of immigrant children and parents.

A just-announced "zero-tolerance" policy made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions means every person crossing the border of the U.S. and Mexico without proper documentation will be charged with a crime and jailed.

Asked about the policy, Ryan suggested only legislation could fix the problem.

"This is a defect of the law and a court ruling," Ryan said.

What court ruling? Ryan's political office referred Fox 13 to a 1997 legal settlement, the Flores Settlement. That settlement states in part:

"INS policy is to place each detained minor in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the minor's age and special needs, provided that such setting is consistent with the need to ensure the minor's timely appearance and to protect the minor's well-being and that of others."

The Flores Settlement does mean that if a parent is jailed, the children can't be jailed with them. Ryan takes the step of placing blame on the two-decades-old settlement rather than the one-month-old decision to criminally prosecute every adult crossing the border with proper documents.