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DENVER — The deadline for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  expired Thursday, signaling a big step in winding down the program.

“Dreamers” whose status expires before March had to apply by Thursday for a two-year renewal. The deadline prompted rallies across the U.S., including in Denver.

A group gathered outside Rep. Mike Coffman’s office to thank him for his support and to encourage him to put pressure on his Republican colleagues.

Coffman has pushed a discharge petition that would force a vote on a bill that would protect DACA recipients.

“I think it’s a very positive step forward, moving toward doing the right thing, the morally right thing,” rally participant Kevin Patterson said.

Ana Rodriguez helped organize the rally. She is a DACA recipient who was brought to the U.S. when she was 4 years old.

“This is the opportunity for Congress to do something for people like me who have been working all their lives to make this country a better place,” Rodriguez said.

President Donald Trump said he supports DACA recipients but needs to see a plan to help them that also includes more robust immigration reform.

Rep. Ken Buck echoed similar sentiments to Trump in a statement.

“Once we have a bill that includes serious border security and mandatory e-verify, I’ll gladly review ways to address the situation faced by DACA-eligible individuals,” Buck said.

“This sympathetic group of individuals can’t be held responsible for the crimes of their parents. But we also must ensure that we put an end to illegal immigration into this country.”

Of the 154,000 eligible to apply for the renewal, reports are 38,000 didn’t get their application in on time.

Critiques say the short turnaround to get in the $500 application fee hindered applicants as well as the hurricanes.

Because of the hurricanes, late applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.