Sen. Kamala Harris
Sen. Kamala Harris speaks in the Senate chambers. Courtesy C-SPAN

Both of California’s Senators voted against the bipartisan compromise on Monday to reopen the federal government, saying the agreement did nothing to help the “Dreamers.”

Sen. Kamala Harris said Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell‘s promise to allow an immigration bill to reach the Senate floor next month wasn’t sufficient for her.

“The Majority Leader’s comments last night fell far short of the ironclad guarantee I needed to support a stopgap spending bill,” Harris said in a statement after the vote. “I refuse to put the lives of nearly 700,000 young people in the hands of someone who has repeatedly gone back on his word. I will do everything in my power to continue to protect Dreamers from deportation.”

The Dreamers are immigrants brought to the United States as children and until recently protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Many speak only English and do not know the country of their birth. More than 200,000 live in California.

President Trump campaigned against the DACA program, and canceled it last year under pressure from his right-wing base. A federal court later overturned that action and the Supreme Court is set to rule. The Dreamers have been in legal limbo, with deportations potentially beginning as early as March.

The Senate voted 81-18 to approve a stopgap spending measure until Feb. 8 after McConnell promised “this immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the state’s senior Senator, also cited the lack of help for the Dreamers in her vote against the measure.

“I voted no on the bill today for one reason: It didn’t include the Dream Act, as has been repeatedly promised. I’m frustrated and angry that once again we were prevented from voting on that bill,” she said in a statement.

“We’ve debated the Dream Act for 17 years, and for 17 years Republicans have blocked the bill. Now, with the fate of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in the balance, Republican leadership again refused to allow a vote.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.