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Greater DC Staff

Bitania Endalkachew

Legal Assistant

Bitania Endalkachew joined Tahirih in 2022. As the Legal Assistant, Bitania provides critical administrative support to the Afghan Asylum Project by screening survivors, maintaining project case databases, preparing documents, and supporting the project’s contract attorneys. Prior to joining Tahirih, Bitania served as a Program Associate on the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund housed in the National Women’s Law Center. Bitania has worked abroad in Morocco on public health issues at Organisation Pan-Africaine De Lutte Contre Le Sida.

I am inspired by Tahirih’s interdisciplinary model of service and quick response to people’s needs, as demonstrated by the Afghan Asylum project.

Education: Vanderbilt University, BA

Languages: English, Amharic

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Dane Foster

Immigration Staff Attorney

Dane joined Tahirih in 2022. As Immigration Staff Attorney in our Greater DC-Baltimore regional office, Dane represents immigrant victims of gender-based violence in Immigration Court and before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Prior to joining Tahirih, Dane worked as an attorney for Winston & Strawn LLP in their eDiscovery & Information Governance Department in DC and as an Immigration Law Clerk with Blessinger Legal PLLC in Virginia. Dane has written several publications including a journal article titled “Constitutional Court Landscape Post-Arab Spring: A Survey of Design,” 8 Indiana Journal of Constitutional Design 2 (2021), and a book chapter titled “Refugee Admissions Under the Trump Administration,” in “Perceptions and Misconceptions of Donald Trump” (Mohamed A. ‘Arafa ed., Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2022).

I am inspired by Tahirih’s commitment to restorative justice and healing for vulnerable populations who have faced great trauma in their lives. Tahirih dedicates itself to helping immigrant survivors gain safety and security, and I am honored to be part of that work.

Education: Indiana University Maurer School of Law, JD; Indiana University Bloomington, BA

Languages: English, Arabic, and Spanish

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Ron Lapitan

Development Manager

Ron joined Tahirih in 2018. As a Constituent Data Assistant, Ron is responsible for maintaining accurate donations data and coordinating the nationwide acknowledgements process. Prior to joining Tahirih, Ron served as Community Outreach Coordinator with the Center for Health and Human Rights.

“I am inspired by Tahirih’s drive to give all women and girls a chance at living without fear.”

Education: George Mason University, BA

Languages: Farsi

Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

Brenda Melgar

Immigration and Family Law Paralegal

Brenda Melgar joined Tahirih in 2019. As the Immigration and Family Law Paralegal in the Greater DC office, Brenda supports our attorneys with important legal tasks like preparing immigration forms and filings; client related work like scheduling and meeting with clients. Brenda comes to Tahirih with fifteen years of paralegal experience. Prior to Tahirih, Brenda was a Senior Paralegal at a private practice, immigration firm, where she gained her passion for helping her immigrant community.

“I am inspired by Tahirih’s commitment to serving courageous immigrant women and girls.”

Education: George Mason University, Paralegal Certificate

Languages: Spanish

Hometown: Woodbridge, Virginia

Anusce Sanai

Senior Managing Attorney

Anusce Sanai (she/her/ella) joined the Tahirih Justice Center in 2012. Anusce is a dedicated and experienced attorney with 10 years of direct legal services and management work in the immigration nonprofit field. She continues to strive for the advancement of equal rights, social justice and race unity while working with survivors of gender-based violence. At the core of her career is a deep-rooted passion for the eradication of systemic racism and oppressive structures that marginalize vulnerable demographics. As such, her career has been shaped through diversity, equity, and inclusion discourse and trainings to provide culturally competent services.

Anusce’s journey at Tahirih began as a family law attorney, expanding into immigration law while ascending to the role of supervisor to the current position of Senior Managing Attorney. She represented clients in matters related to immigration remedies under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), U-Visa, Battered Spouse Waiver, T-Visas and Asylum claims. In addition, her family law portfolio includes divorce and custody proceedings as well as spousal and child support petitions. In addition, Anusce serves as a co-chair on Tahirih’s Gender, Race, Anti-Racism, Cultural humility, and Equity Task Force (GRACE).

As an immigrant to the United States herself and as a Baháʼí Iranian woman, Anusce’s identity has contributed to shaping her commitment to social justice and advocacy work.

“The partnership that the Tahirih Justice Center provides to equal rights advocacy work allows me to accompany our clients on the path to social justice and the dismantling of systems that continue to widen disparities, inequalities and injustices.”

Education: New England School of Law, JD; University of Colorado at Boulder, BA

Languages: Italian and Farsi

Hometown: Lucca, Italy

Emilie Mahoney

Immigration Staff Attorney

Emilie joined Tahirih in 2023. As an Immigration Staff Attorney in our Greater DC-Baltimore regional office, Emilie represents immigrant victims of gender-based violence in Immigration Court and before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Prior to joining Tahirih, Emilie worked as a Constituent Services Caseworker for U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and served as a legal fellow with RAINN. During law school, Emilie participated in the University of Maryland’s Gender Violence Clinic and was a member of the Maryland Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class.

I am inspired by Tahirih’s mission of protecting immigrant women and girls. I am honored to be a part of providing holistic, client-centered legal services to these courageous survivors.

Education: University of Maryland, JD; Texas Christian University, BA

Hometown: Santa Barbara, California