Zell: US Border Not a Problem, 'Jobs Aren't Here'
America should not worry too much about protecting its porous borders from illegal immigrants because "the jobs aren't here" so they're not coming anymore, entrepreneur Sam Zell told CNBC on Wednesday.
"Personally, I can't believe in 2013 we're still having an immigration discussion," Zell asserted in a "Squawk Box" interview, responding to President Barack Obama's call for immigration reform in his State of the Union address. "This whole matter should have been resolved years ago," and he pushed for a quick resolution now.
Zell added, "I think this whole focus protecting the border, etcetera — nobody's coming to the United States anymore. The jobs aren't here."
(Read More: Obama to Republicans: Can We Just Move On?)
Zell noted that the president's call to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 would cost jobs. "There's no history that says raising the minimum wage does anything other than eliminate jobs," he said.
"If you're the manager of [a] McDonald's, your labor costs went up 20 [plus] percent," Zell said. "You didn't get any benefit or reductions."
(Read More: Minimum Wage Raise Has Risks for Obama, Economy)
With origins in real estate, Zell started Chicago-based Equity Group Investments more than 40 years ago. As a business owner, he said, "Continuing to increase the government's role in our economy, I don't think, is a productive direction."
Zell argued that businesses need to be able to make quick decisions — something that government is unable to do because of bureaucracy.
"The history of government encouragement of business has always succeeded where it's been at the margin," he continued, "not where it's the core."
—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere; Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC