Immigration is "the biggest issue of our time," Cook said. "This goes to the values of being American."
In August, the Trump administration announced that it planned to end a program known as DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, although it eventually backed off. In response, Cook said in an internal Apple post that 250 Apple employees are covered under DACA, and that he supported the so-called "Dreamers" at Apple.
"I am personally shocked that there's even a discussion on this," Cook said on Wednesday. "It's not a political thing, at least I don't see it that way at all."
Cook's comments at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum touch on what his approach to immigration would be if he were in charge of immigration policy.
"If I were a country leader, my goal would be to monopolize the world's talent," Cook continued, saying that smart people create jobs.
"I'd have a very aggressive plan, not to just let a few people in, but I'd be recruiting."
Cook also touched on Apple's efforts to create free classes and curriculum for its programming language, Swift, which he sees as a driver of job creation. "Where manufacturing was key to the middle class years ago, coding is key to the middle class today and tomorrow," he said.
This post originally appeared on Business Insider.