Dagmara Avelar

Director of Programs

(312) 332-7360

Dagmara was born in Quito, Ecuador, and moved to Illinois at the age of 12 with her family. As a new immigrant settled in Bolingbrook in the southwest suburbs, she experienced first hand the challenges of moving to a new country. She adapted to her new home, and graduated from Valley View 365U schools, then went on to earn a B.A. in Justice Studies with a minor in Political Science from Northeastern Illinois University. For the past 12 years, she has dedicated her life to advancing proimmigrant policies and programs. She was an active member of a delegation advocating for the passage of the DREAM Act in 2007, worked in several get out the vote efforts to promote civic engagement of new Americans in the southwest suburbs and most recently has worked closely in the creation, implementation, and coordination of Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights (ICIRR) Family Support Hotline. This hotline was the first of its kind in the state of Illinois catered to people who were experiencing a deportation crisis. Dagmara proudly became a naturalized U.S. citizen in April 2016. 


In her current role as the Director of Programs for the New Americans Initiative and Immigrant Family Resource Program at ICIRR, Dagmara works directly with 59 community-based organizations across the state of Illinois to address barriers to citizenship as well as language access primarily for immigrants and refugees. Prior to her current role at ICIRR, Dagmara worked at Instituto Del Progreso Latino as an accredited representative with a focus on citizenship and DACA and was able to assist over 400 people in their immigration journey. 


Dagmara is working on her Master's in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She currently resides in Bolingbrook, IL with her parents and sister, who she credits as her inspiration for her passion of advocacy for families and social justice. She loves to travel and her two poodles, Jerry and Bella.

ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.
©2018 Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
228 S. Wabash, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60604
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