Apple CEO Tim Cook defended the government programme that protects young immigrants in the U.S. illegally and called immigration the "biggest issue of our time."

Cook, speaking at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum Wednesday, said Apple Inc. plans to work with Congress on behalf of its employees that benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

The program gives temporary protection and work authorisation to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, who are referred to as "dreamers." The programme is being phased out, but with a six-month delay to give Congress a chance to address the issue.

"If I were a country leader right now, my goal would be to monopolise the world's talent," Cook said. "I'd want every smart person coming to my country."

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Cook said the DACA issue is about "basic human dignity and respect" and American values.

"They only know our country, this is their home, they love America deeply," he said. "I wish everyone in America loved America this much."