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In Defense of Kelly Osbourne

Photograph by Getty Images

I don't know much about Kelly Osbourne other than what I see of her on fashion TV programs and that her father is heavy metal royalty. She's not someone I think much about and I'm not really a fan, but I'm going to go out on a limb and defend her anyway.

When I saw the stream of Kelly Osbourne's clip on "The View," I was intrigued. I immediately clicked to hear the sound bite that offended so many of my Facebook friends. And the moment I heard it, I didn't think anything of it.

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I think she was making a valid point. Her only mistake was her flippant attitude in the way she talked about a hot-button issue.

Yes, I can totally understand how she may have offended viewers and Rosie Perez, but I really don't think she meant to be offensive.

I actually think she was making a valid point. Her only mistake was her flippant attitude in the way she talked about a hot-button issue.

Before you get all up in arms about my opinion, let me say this: I am the daughter of people who spent most of their lives as "the help."

My parents were born in Puerto Rico and came to New York City as children in the early 1950s.

My mother didn't speak English when she first arrived, but eventually did so well in school that she graduated from high school at 15. And before she got married, she worked as a nurse's aide. After she got married and became a mother, she quit working. But throughout my school-age years, she worked as a cleaning lady for the elderly in the neighborhood.

My dad started working as a teenager in a factory until he was laid off. He worked odd jobs until he was hired as a maintenance worker at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He worked his way up to being a gold-stacker in the vault. Then, after almost 20 years of service (without even taking a single sick day), he was laid off. With little education and fewer job skills, he returned to maintenance work. He spent the last of his working years working the night shift, part-time — making less than $10 per hour — cleaning offices.

I am the daughter of people who spent most of their lives as "the help." My parents came to the mainland as U.S. citizens, they spoke English, and still, the only opportunities available to them were what most consider to be "menial labor." Yet, together, they raised hardworking, successful children.

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My parents came to the mainland as U.S. citizens, they spoke English, and still, the only opportunities available to them were what most consider to be "menial labor." Yet, together, they raised hardworking, successful children.

According to the Pew Research Center, "unauthorized immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the U.S. labor force." Where do people think they are working?

So when Donald Trump talks about immigrants or Latinos, I have to laugh it off. Because like Kelly said, if we got rid of every single Latino immigrant, who would do the dirty work? Who would clean toilets? Who would do the work that no one else wants to do?

I clean my own toilet because I can't afford any kind of help. But Donald Trump and any other well-to-do blue blood complaining about immigration? Who would clean theirs? Because you know they are not about to clean their own toilets. As much as they complain about immigrants, they need them. They need someone they don't want to claim on their income taxes, someone who will work hard and cheap without making any demands.

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While not all Latino immigrants "clean toilets," some actually do. And there is no shame in that. There is nothing wrong with providing for yourself or your family.

I don't mean to be offensive. I think it's a harsh truth. And living in New York, one of the six states that account for 60 percent of the unauthorized immigrants, it's a truth I see daily.

I realize not all Latinos are maids, nannies and gardeners. I know what we can do and I appreciate how far we have come. I know many successful Latinos: young promising students, college graduates, entrepreneurs, lawyers, media moguls, CEOs, accountants.

While not all Latino immigrants "clean toilets," some actually do. And there is no shame in that. There is nothing wrong with providing for yourself or your family.

That's why immigrants come to America. Many of our great cities and industries were built by immigrants. It's still a land of opportunity even for those who are denied it. We are still a country where even the maid can have the opportunity to send her kid to an Ivy League college. That's what makes America so great.

America needs Latinos — to run our businesses and sometimes our homes.

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