Staff Contact Information

Catherine Tactaquin
Executive Director
510-465-1984 ext. 302

Colin Rajah
Program Director, International Migrant Rights & Global Justice Program
510-465-1984 ext. 306

Laura Rivas
Program Associate, Immigrant Justice & Rights Program
510-465-1984 ext. 304

Staff Bios 

Catherine TactaquinCatherine Tactaquin is Executive Director and a co-founder of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. The daughter of an immigrant farmworker from the Philippines, she was involved for many years in grassroots organizing and advocacy in the Filipino community on issues of discrimination and foreign policy. She is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from global migration and human rights, to race and gender perspectives, and immigration reform.

In 1994, Catherine helped to found Migrants Rights International (MRI), a global alliance of migrant associations and other non-governmental organizations. She sits on the Steering Committee of MRI, represents NNIRR in the Global Coalition on Migration, and is on the Board of Poverty, Race and Research Action Council in Washington, D.C. She is a past recipient of the Bannerman Fellowship, an award recognizing outstanding activists of color, and was recently honored with a Community Activist award from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. She attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley, majoring in Community Studies.


colinColin Rajah is Director of the International Migrant Rights and Global Justice Program at NNIRR. A political refugee from Malaysia, Colin has been an activist-organizer for almost 25 years around Asia and in the U.S. He has authored dozens of publications, and speaks frequently around the world on issues related to migration and migrant rights, and international trade and globalization. Colin co-leads an international advocacy project on climate change and migration and authored a comprehensive report on the criminalization and exploitation of migrant labor through international trade, managed migration, and enforcement policies.


Colin is a co-founder and Coordinator of a new Global Coalition on Migration (GCM), an international coalition of regional and international civil society networks and movements collaborating around international migration policy.  He also serves as the Secretary for Migrant Rights International (MRI), an international network of migrant rights organizations. Colin is a co-founder and co-chair of the People's Global Action on Migration, Development & Human Rights (PGA), an annual international civil society process held in conjunction with inter-governmental summits on migration, particularly the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD)


Colin served as a National Planning Committee member of the first U.S. Social Forum (USSF), and was co-founder and former Steering Committee member of the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ). In addition to being a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, Colin has served as a consultant to the Malaysian Migration Working Group (MWG), the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Asia-Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Urban Habitat and other community organizations in Asia and around the U.S.


Laura Rivas heads up NNIRR's HURRICANE initiative and the “100 Stories” Project, training and working with communities documenting human rights abuses of immigrants. Raised in Lynwood, California with roots in Chihuahua, Mexico, Laura began organizing in her community & high school for culturally relevant services and community spaces, as well to build alliances between Latin@ and African American communities in South Los Angeles. Laura attended Loyola Marymount University where she participated as a student leader linking academic work with community organizing and activism advocating for youth and families in the educational and criminal justice systems. Laura completed a Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, and is now a proud parent of the youngest member of the NNIRR family, Nayeli Maxhetsi.

Laura is also the recent recipient of the Social Justice Award by the John George Democratic Club in Oakland, CA. Laura has practiced Aztec Dance for over ten years.