DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper, state lawmakers and dozens of young immigrants and activists urged President Donald Trump on Friday to keep federal protections for immigrant children whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally.

Some 17,000 immigrants in Colorado have benefited under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows those brought by their parents without documentation to temporarily live, study and work in the U.S.

Hickenlooper, Democratic House Speaker Crisanta Duran and others spoke in favor of the program, known as DACA, at the state capitol. Several immigrants spoke of uncertainty they were experiencing as Trump decided whether to extend the program, enacted by executive order by President Barack Obama.

"The time has come again to organize our friends, our families, our neighbors," said Salvador Hernandez, a community advocate, Denverite reported.

Trump said he'd announce a decision late Friday or over the weekend. He had faced a Sept. 5 deadline set by a group of Republican state lawmakers, who are threatening to challenge DACA in court if the administration does not start to dismantle it by then.

Hickenlooper urged Congress to act on immigration reform. Pending legislation would provide a path toward permanent legal status for the nearly 800,000 people brought to the U.S. as children without authorization.

"I don't know what to do," Brithany Gutierrez, a junior at Colorado State University, told The Denver Post (

Gutierrez said the childhood arrivals program had allowed her to work as a nursing assistant to help pay for college; she emigrated from Mexico with her family in 2005. "It's kind of out of my hands and out of my control, and that's one of the worst feelings, because I feel kind of helpless."

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