DE PERE, Wis. (AP) -

Manufacturing and agriculture industry leaders in Wisconsin say immigration reform is essential to their businesses.

Business groups are trying to define the immigration debate as an economic issue.

"It's time now to make changes," said Laurie Fischer, director of dairy policy for the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. "We want to work with the Senate and the House and businesses around the country to make sure there is a way to ensure there are workers who will stay here and help us run our dairy farms."

Nestle USA pizza plant manager Marcus Brenneman in Little Chute says immigrants are essential to maintaining his workforce of 1,200. About 30 percent of his employees are Hispanic or Hmong immigrants, Brenneman told Press-Gazette Media .

"I hope that it is now time that we really look into this immigration reform and have some changes. If done properly I believe we can continue to have the U.S. be what it has been for so long. It really is a place where people from all over the world aspire to come be part of a thriving economy," he said.

The flood of unaccompanied child immigrants that has overwhelmed the Border Patrol in South Texas comes at a time when the White House was seeking the upper hand on the issue of immigration, particularly with Hispanic voters.

U.S. House Republicans have made it clear they have no plans to take up comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year, but President Barack Obama has vowed to move forward with executive actions that he said would make needed changes to the nation's broken immigration system.