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

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.