I-CAUSE Coalition

I-CAUSE is a coalition made up of undocumented and DACA students as well as Illinois staff.

Mission Statement: To create an alliance of undocumented students at the University of Illinois for representation, resource gathering, and access to post-secondary education. We aim to bring awareness of our status and create an inclusive climate for undocumented students to voice their concern. We strive to empower the community as a means to create allies and advocate for policy change by sharing our testimonies.


Alberto Lara Valdivieso: Born and raised in Mexico City. He came to the U.S. at eight years old, straight into the south side of Chicago. He is a senior majoring in Sociocultural & Linguistic Anthropology, with a concentration on (Im)migrant Families. Alberto’s research is centered on (im)migrant livelihood and the facets of (im)migrant spaces. Many of his interests are centered on community outreach, and he has worked with disenfranchised children and youth for the last five years.




Ana Rodas: Fox Lake, IL. Born in Guatemala. Ana is a junior in the College of Fine & Applied Arts (FAA), majoring in Graphic Design with a minor in Art History. She is involved with CASE, an ambassador and mentor for international students in FAA, and is also a RA for Barton Hall. Her favorite places on campus besides the Art & Design Building is a small open area between Wohlers Hall and the Architecture building.




Bruna Cardoso: Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Currently, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in macro Social Work with a focus in Leadership and Social Change. She also has a graduate assistantship with Family and Graduate Housing. Before graduate school, she worked for the Illinois Department of Human Services. Her area of passion is immigration reform, and her favorite part about Illinois is the involvement with I-CAUSE.




Jaime Nolasco: Born in Mexico City but raised in Chicago, Illinois. He has been an active voice in undocumented student issues and politics all around. Jaime has served in executive board positions in the Mexican Student Association, Illini Democrats, C.A.S.E, and other organizations. He has also organized heavily for the A.C.C.E.S.S. Bill and has worked as a voter registration coordinator for State Representative Carol Ammons. Planning to attend law school in the near future, he remains a leader on campus for access to higher education for undocumented students.




Maria Navas: Glendale Heights, IL. Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. She transferred to the University of Illinois in Fall 2015 as a junior to study Animal Science with a concentration in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Throughout the years, Maria has stayed active in the community by volunteering her time at various animal shelters and animal rehabilitation centers. She helped co-founded I-CAUSE in hopes to educate and spread awareness on various issues affecting the community.




Nancy Ramirez Blancas: Born in Mexico City and came to Illinois when she was one. Nancy is part of Illinois’ Undergraduate Neuroscience Society (Philanthropy Chair) and I-Cause. She has presented in the Honors Council of the Illinois Region Student Symposium, the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference, the International Human Rights Expo, and the African Symposium. She has also received the James Brown Honors Award, the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation Award, Minority Access to Higher Education Scholarship Award, the James J. McGrath Humanities Scholarship Award, President’s Award for Excellence in Student Life and Leadership, and was a Jack Kent Cooke Semifinalist.

The university is advocating vigorously against any actions that are needlessly detrimental to our university community and we pledge to be proactive in supporting all of our students, faculty, staff and visiting scholars, whether domestic or international.