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Photo: Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

Chief executives from top U.S. companies including Apple, Cisco, IBM, Pepsico and AT&T sent a letter to Homeland Security this week expressing their "serious concern about changes in immigration policy," arguing the changes are "unfair and discourage talented and highly skilled individuals from pursuing career opportunities in the United States," according to a copy provided to Axios.

The big picture: The Trump administration has imposed several new policies and released memos that have made it much more difficult for highly skilled foreign workers to obtain H-1B visas — and much easier immigration officials to deport foreign workers who become ineligible. Many tech companies in particular rely on these foreign workers to fill the labor and skills gap in the U.S.

On the other side: The administration and advocates for cutting immigration levels have often accused employers of taking advantage of the H-1B visa to find cheaper labor instead of hiring Americans.

  • Labor Department investigators have been probing tech companies for abuse of employment visas. They recently concluded that Cisco Systems, which employed 1,600 immigrant workers last year, had been favoring immigrants for job openings and paying them less than American workers, Bloomberg Law reported this week.
  • A Cisco spokesperson told Axios the story is "factually incorrect. Visa holders are paid on the same basis as US citizens and permanent residents."

Key players: The companies that sent the letter to DHS are all a part of Business Roundtable, an influential group that represents many of the largest companies in the U.S. Key executives who signed the letter include Cisco System's Chuck Robbins, Apple's Tim Cook, IBM's Ginni Rometty, S&P Global Douglas L. Peterson, JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, Salesforce's Marc Benioff and PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi.

Go deeper: Visas getting harder to obtain under Trump's immigration crackdown

Go deeper

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID-19 complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Updated 4 hours ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.