Sam Zell.

Bridge or wall?

"I'm a bridge guy, not a wall guy," billionaire businessman Sam Zell told attendees at Nareit REITweek 2018 Investor Conference on Wednesday, June 6.

He was responding to a question from Nareit CEO Steven A. Wechsler about immigration.

Zell, the son of Polish immigrants who grew up in Chicago, said that even though immigration has become a "distraction" in the U.S., this country was built on immigration and cultural assimilation.

He added that his company had built CBX, a bridge between Chula Vista, California, and the Tijuana International Airport in Mexico, in which some two million people pay to cross a year.

One of President Donald Trump's key desires is to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico as a way, he believes, to reduce illegal immigration at the United States' southern border with Mexico.

Zell has investments in commercial real estate, energy, manufacturing, logistics/transportation, healthcare, and communications.

He is also the founder and chairman of the private equity and venture capital firm Equity International, focusing on seed, early, middle market and mid stage investments in real estate companies in emerging and frontier markets, such as Brazil, Colombia and India. It does not invest in the United States.

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