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Alp arrived in New Jersey when he was four years old and grew up undocumented. His parents did not speak English, and they worked at minimum wage jobs in the hopes that Alp might one day achieve the American Dream. From North Plainfield, to Cliffside Park, to Parlin, the family moved often as they chased jobs from gas stations to yellow cabs and tried to find their place in New Jersey.
Alp in a traditional Muslim circumcision ceremony
Alp in a traditional Muslim circumcision ceremony

Despite severe economic hardships, Alp received an excellent education thanks to the brilliant public school teachers of New Jersey, and he never felt like an outsider in its diverse neighborhoods. Alp and his family spent their weekends in Paterson, visiting Turkish friends and renting Turkish-language movies from local grocery stores. Alp and his family even participated in a Muslim circumcision ceremony for Alp as if they were still in Turkey.

In the early 1990s, as the “trickle-down” economic policies of Republican administrations bankrupted hardworking families, Alp and his family was forced to move back to Turkey and live in the spare home of his uncle. Because of the convoluted U.S. immigration system, Alp and his mom waited in Turkey for their Green Cards for years while dad continued to live in Cliffside Park and work as a New York City yellow cab driver.

Alp’s father driving a New York City yellow cab
Alp’s father driving a New York City yellow cab

After four and a half years, Alp and his mom received their Green Cards and the family was reunited in Fort Lee. Alp once again found himself in a New Jersey school district that provided an excellent public school education. The family paid much higher rent in Fort Lee in order to get Alp into a good school district. Because of the superb education at Fort Lee High School, Alp was able to go to Vanderbilt University and graduate magna cum laude, completing three majors and writing two honors theses. Alp went on to receive a law degree from UCLA School of Law.

After racking up an absurd amount of student loan debt, Alp moved back to Fort Lee and worked as a corporate lawyer in Manhattan for nearly a decade. During that time, Alp represented Fortune 500 companies in international mergers and acquisitions exceeding $40 billion in value. Alp also provided free legal services for persecuted LGBTQ and HIV+ refugees, and supported the medical expenses of two disabled family members who suffered catastrophic illnesses.

Recently, Alp paid back the last dime on his student loans and started his own company. Alp continues to live in Fort Lee with his wife, two small children, retired cab driver father, retired hairdresser mother, and Great Pyrenees rescue dog.