President Barack Obama says it is "incredibly disappointing" that Senate Republicans blocked a bill to grant some illegal immigrants a chance to gain legal status.

In a statement, Obama says the DREAM Act is the right thing to do for the county, and important for economic competitiveness, military readiness and law enforcement efforts. He says there was "simply no reason" not to pass the legislation.

The measure fell five votes short of the 60 needed to move forward Saturday. The bill would allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a chance to gain legal status if they enroll in college or join the military.

Critics called the measure a back-door grant of amnesty that would encourage more illegal immigration.