MEXICO CITY — Central American migrants headed to Mexico City late Friday to give thanks to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the last stop for many on a caravan that drew criticism from President Donald Trump.
The caravan itself never intended to reach the U.S. border. But Mexico has given many participants transit or humanitarian visas which could allow some to reach the border.
Some plan to ask for asylum in the United States, others plan to stay in Mexico. Still others split off from the caravan last week, apparently to try their luck at crossing on their own.
The busloads of migrants were headed to Mexico City's Basilica de Guadalupe, dedicated to Mexico's patroness. From there, the migrants will be pretty much on their own.
Also Friday, Mexico's secretary of the interior said he had called in U.S. Ambassador Roberta Jacobson for consultations regarding Trump's statement Thursday about migrant women being raped on the journey to the United States.
In a speech Thursday, Trump mused about the threat of violence among immigrants and appeared to make reference to the migrants' caravan.
"Remember my opening remarks at Trump Tower when I opened? Everybody said, 'Oh, he was so tough,' and I used the word rape," he said. "And yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. They don't want to mention that."
It was not clear what Trump was referring to. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Trump wasn't talking about the caravan but rather about extreme victimization of those making the journey north with smugglers in general.
And press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said that she was "not sure why the media is acting like this isn't a well-established fact — women and young girls are brutally victimized on the journey north."
But Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete Prida said Friday that Jacobsen had been called in to explain what Trump meant.
"The Foreign Relations department called in the ambassador yesterday, which is diplomatic mechanism we have, to cite concrete cases where there supposedly had been rapes of Hondurans, given that is part of an aggressive rhetoric, and express very clearly the rejection of that," said Navarrete Prida.