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'Ice Bae' Border Patrol Agent Kiara Cervantes Went Viral For All The Wrong Reasons — Here's What We Know About Her

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Ice Bae? New Details On Kiara Cervantes, The Border Patrol Agent Who Went Viral After Mike Pence Visited Her Detention Facility

When Mike Pence visited the detention facility where she worked, her photos instantly went viral. Some people — correctly — called shenanigans on this trend and questioned where we were, as a society. Who is Ice Bae, AKA Kiara Cervantes?

Let's look at what we know about this controversial figure. 

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1. She first went "viral" after Mike Pence visited the detention facility where she worked. 

According to Fox News, the origins of the #IceBae meme expose a very serious issue at hand. Mike Pence, who is currently the Vice President, stopped by a Border Patrol Detention Center in Cervantes' native Texas, and Cervantes was tasked with providing him with security. 

"The female officer was providing security for Vice President Mike Pence during his recent border visit when she was photographed standing outside of a holding cell. A Twitter account purportedly belonging to the woman surfaced early Monday and identified her as Kiara Cervantes, of Texas. A video was posted later in the afternoon, claiming the page was authentic. “Just woke up…saw that I needed to make a video so y’all could believe that it’s me,” said the woman purporting herself to be Cervantes. “It’s me — I’m a Customs officer based in Texas and yeah, I don’t know what else to say," reported the outlet.

Not everybody thought #IceBae was trending for all the right reasons.

2. Almost immediately, the #ICEBae viral trend got called out for being problematic. 

Wired was one of the first outlets to point out that the #IceBae viral trend was indicative of a problem in 21st-century American society. The outlet reported that there are a number of problems with the trend — first, we shouldn't sexualize women just for doing their job, especially a woman of color; second, joking about "wanting to be detained by ICE" because of #IceBae trivializes the plight of migrants in detention facilities. 

But there's a third, more salient, problem with the viral trend. 

"The harshest critics likened lusting after #IceBae to being smitten with a concentration camp guard. Cervantes reportedly responded to this critique on Twitter, denying the detention center was a concentration camp but acknowledging the "overpopulation of aliens" at her station, though that tweet seems to have been deleted. The lust over #IceBae sums up the problem with the United States in 2019: racism, sexism, apathy, and a willingness to overlook and even celebrate cruelty when it's politically expedient," reported the outlet.

The #IceBae trend is problematic.

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3. Despite the ICE Bae nickname, she's actually a border patrol agent, which isn't the same thing. 

According to the NY Post, Kiara Cervantes is not employed by Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Rather, she's a border patrol agent, which is not the same thing. 

"The US Customs and Border Protection agency has confirmed #IceBae’s status as a CBP officer, telling The Post in an email it has no problem whatsoever with her newfound fame — and that she can tweet as many photos as she wants. “CBP does not restrict employees from participating in social media for personal use,” said a CBP official. “As we have previously said, CBP employees are held to the highest expectation of conduct, both on and off duty and must adhere to CBP’s standards of conduct,” reported the outlet.

Technically, Ice Bae is a border patrol agent, not an ICE agent. Doesn't make it better, but hey.

4. Despite overwhelming criticism, Kiara Cervantes said that she's also received a lot of support. 

According to Newsweek, Cervantes didn't have social media prior to the "Ice Bae" trend going viral. However, she almost immediately formed a Twitter account after she started trending on social media, and claimed she received an "overwhelming amount" of support. 

"In one of her tweets, Cervantes said she was in "awe" of "all the support" she has received on social media, with her account already attracting more than 29,500 followers since it was created earlier this month," reported the outlet

As of this writing, Cervantes has more than 40,000 followers on social media.

5. #IceBae's background is perhaps a bit surprising. 

A different report for The New York Post reveals a bit of a surprising truth about Kiara Cervantes — namely, that she's not who people think she is. 

"A Latina Border Patrol officer who went viral as #IceBae after being photographed on duty is a registered Democrat from Texas, records show. Voter registration records showed Cervantes, who is from Laredo, didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election. She last exercised her right to vote in March 2014," reported the outlet. 

The outlet also reported that despite being a registered Democrat who declined to vote in the 2016 election — the election that made Donald Trump president — she said that it was an "honor" to serve Mike Pence in her capacity. 

Okay, girl. We guess. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.