In an incredibly disappointing vote today, a minority of Senators prevented the Senate from doing what most Americans understand is best for the country, Obama said.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, or DREAM, Act, would have opened up a path to the children of illegal immigrants to earn permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or attend college.
The Senate voted 55-41 to consider the DREAM Act, but fell five votes short of the three/fifths majority needed to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
Opponents have called the DREAM Act a form of amnesty which, essentially, rewards families for coming to the U.S. illegally.
Sen. Richard Durbin, D-IL, one of the bill's sponsors, said the issue was whether or not the United States Senate will stand by thousands of children in America who live in the shadows and dream of greatness.
I promise I will never give up this fight, Durbin said, in response to the defeat.
If Republicans are betting that Latino and immigrant voters will forget what happened today in Washington, they will be sadly mistaken, said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-IL.
The bill passed the House of Representatives earlier in December, 216-198.
Three Republicans Senators - Bob Bennett, UT, Richard Lugar, IN and Lisa Murkowski, AK - voted to bring the measure to the floor, but five Democratic Senators - Max Baucus, MT, Kay Hagan, NC, Ben Nelson, NE, Mark Pryor, AR and Jon Tester, MT - joined the majority of the Republicans in voting against it.
Both the House and the Senate will have more Republicans in them next year, so the chances for the DREAM Act being resurrected any time soon are remote.
As I said last week, when the House passed the DREAM Act, it is not only the right thing to do for talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own, it is the right thing for the United States of America,' Obama said.
Our nation is enriched by their talents and would benefit from the success of their efforts, the President said. The DREAM Act is important to our economic competitiveness, military readiness, and law enforcement efforts. And as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. There was simply no reason not to pass this important legislation.