Sam Zell told a conference audience that anti-immigration sentiment is dangerous to the future of the U.S., Bloomberg News reported.
"The United States has been the leader in the world for 200 years because it's had a very aggressive immigration policy," Zell said at the Tiger 21 conference in Boca Raton, Fla., the outlet reported. "I think that this current period of anti-immigration is very dangerous to the future of our country."
His comments came less than a week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order restricting immigration and travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Zell, a veteran investor, is chairman of Equity Residential, Equity Group Investments Inc., Equity International, Equity Commonwealth and Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc., among other posts. He was a frequent critic of former President Barack Obama, and told CNBC in November 2016, after Trump's election, that the U.S. "needs someone like Trump to encourage us and lead us in an optimistic fashion."
Zell's conference remarks, in which he noted that his parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1941, drew applause from the audience of high-net-worth individuals, Bloomberg reported.