Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine on Thursday compared the harsh immigration policies of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump to the years of “No Irish Need Apply” and the mass discrimination against Irish immigrants in the US from the 1850s onwards.

“He went on a rampage with words of division, trashing people who are Mexican-American basically — saying things about them that people have said about the Irish or about the Italians or about Jews coming from Central and Eastern Europe,” Kaine said, addressing a crowd at a Democratic Party office in Dover, New Hampshire, the day after Trump once again rolled out talk of mass deportation and a wall along the Mexican border.

“Pretty much any group that’s come into this country that has made our nation such a fantastic nation — they faced a few people who were saying bad things about them, who said ‘no Irish need apply,” added Kaine.

“That was the speech that Donald Trump gave last night.”

On Wednesday evening, Trump delivered a speech on strict immigration policies from Phoenix, Arizona, just hours after a much more conciliatory meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, in which the Republican nominee made no mention of a wall to block immigration between the two countries and spoke with Nieto about co-operating to improve trade between the US and Mexico.

The surprise visit to Mexico built on the weeks of rumors that Trump was softening on his immigration policies, only for him to enforce his tough stance on Wednesday when no longer in the company of the Mexican President. He confirmed that the wall would be built under a Trump presidency and that a deportation force would be established to round up the some 11 million people estimated to be living in the US illegally.

Kaine criticized Trump once again on Thursday afternoon, calling him cowardly for not addressing the issue of the wall while in Mexico.

“When he sat down and he looked President Peña Nieto in the eye, he didn’t have the guts to bring that up. Then he flew back and boy, when he got back here — ‘We’re gonna make Mexico do this!’” Kaine said, imitating the GOP nominee’s dramatic manner.

“He had the chance to sit down and look the other leader in the eye, it was like he choked, he caved, he lost his confidence, he lost his will,” Kaine said.

“We all know people like that. They’re gonna talk a good game but when the chips are down — [when] it’s the point where if you’ve got an opinion, if something matters to you, you say it — they fold like an accordion.”

“And that’s what Donald Trump did yesterday,” he added.

Numbers have shown that Trump’s hard-line immigration policies are just as likely to affect Europeans and Canadians if they target those who overstayed their visas in the US, estimated at 4.5 million people.

“Last year alone nearly half a million individuals overstayed their temporary visas. Removing these overstays will be a top priority of my administration,” Trump said on Wednesday.

“Visa overstays, pose — and they really are a big problem— pose a substantial threat to national security.”

There are currently estimated to be 50,000 illegal Irish in the US, the majority of whom came to the US on a visa but overstayed, becoming undocumented. Government data shows that, in comparison, 42,114 Mexicans overstayed their visa.

In total, 123,729 Europeans overstayed their visa and 93,035 Canadians.

Past data has shown, however, that black immigrants are deported at five times the rate of other populations of undocumented people for an alleged criminal offense, according to Black Alliance for Just Immigration, so although the numbers may initially pose just as much of a threat to the Irish in the US, racial bias within Trump’s deportation force may or may not affect Europeans who have overstayed their visa to the same extent.

“Donald Trump wants us to be the deportation nation,” Kaine reiterated.

“You could print that speech with Irish-Americans in it, and somebody gave that speech in 1850. You could print Italian-Americans in it, and somebody gave that speech in 1860 or 1870. You could put Jewish folks from Central and Eastern Europe and somebody probably gave that speech in the late 1800s.

“Trashing people from other countries and saying that they’re bad or their criminals or whatever — yeah, that speech has been given in the history of this country.”

H/T: Buzzfeed

Senator Tim Kaine speaking at Presidential Scholars Briefing, June 2016. Department of Education / WikiCommons