Cold as #Icebae: Latina border patrol agent's picture with Mike Pence at Texas detention center goes viral
When a Latina border patrol officer, Kiara Cervante, logged on to Twitter on Sunday, she realized she had become a viral sensation on social media after a picture of her with Vice President Mike Pence during his recent border visit began trending. Cervante was being praised for her good looks as many called her #Icebae. However, as the hashtag began trending, many critics slammed the response in light of recent outrage over the separation of migrant families and ill-treatment of children in similar detention centers.
Cervante viral image shows her standing outside an overcrowded holding cell as Pence walks around. The Vice President visited the McAllen, Texas detention center last Friday.
After getting to know of her sudden fame on social media, Cervante created a Twitter account on Sunday night to respond to all the attention she was getting, and the officer gained nearly 23,000 followers in around 24 hours.
Cervante, in her first Twitter post, wrote: "Soooo it's crazy.... but here I am. I'm hearing something about a viral picture. I would like to say i was just doing my job.. providing security for the visit of @VP. It was an honor and I take a lot of pride in my job!"
One fan of Cervante in a tweet wrote: "#IceBae I've surrendered bae. Arrest me now." While another said: "If she works for ICE she's gonna melt the place."
Another Twitter user, whose profile picture showed him wearing a 'Make America Great Again' hat, wrote: "Keeping America safe and looking good doing it." One of the comments alongside Cervante's viral photo stated: "#IceBae could detain me for however long she wants."
The female officer, on Monday, posted an 8-second video of herself wearing a low-cut grey T-shirt and a high ponytail on Instagram and Twitter to prove she was real, and wrote: "So I literally just woke up, went to get something to eat and saw that I needed to make a video so you all could believe that it's me. It's me, I'm a customs officer based in Texas and yeah I don't know what else to say."
She also posted a message later, saying that she was "in awe" of all the attention and that her job is "hectic" at the moment: "WOW I am in awe. Thank you all for the support! My job is so hectic at this moment but I am grateful. I love protecting my country! And I love my supporters!"
As the controversial hashtag #Icebae began trending, many social media users slammed its use, stating that the officer was at a facility where nearly 400 men from Central America have been packed in cages.
"This country is a mess, we are praising and trending #IceBae when she is literally a guard at a CONCENTRATION CAMP, guarding CHILDREN IN CAGES, RIPPING FAMILIES APART AT THE BORDER. you're all sick, honestly," one user wrote.
"#IceBae is such a cute name for someone who puts black and brown children in cages," another critic of the divisive hashtag commented.
After one user commented on her picture, calling the cell seen behind her a "concentration camp," the officer responded by saying: "This station in particular isn't meant to be a holding facility hence the overpopulation of aliens. We are doing our best but some people won't ever understand. They don't know the daily of what my job consists of.. But thank you for seeing how difficult my job can be… Not only because I am Latina but just in general the mass amount of people crossing ILLEGALLY daily and the processing can take a toll on anyone of any gender and any race."