For the O'Odham living on the reservation presents a number of unique challenges. Particularly difficult for the O'Odham is their proximity to the US-Mexico border. Recent projects along the border have funneled drug and human trafficking into the reservation. This directly contributes to a number of issues. Immigrants coming across the border are often duped by the coyotes who promise them safe passage. This leads to people having to trek aimlessly across the desert. These people are not aware of the ecosystems and cultural sites that they could be stomping over which leads to the degradation of these sites. These people also have no place to dispose of their garbage and will litter out of necessity. The greatest damage does not come from immigrants though.
According to tribal members drug smugglers and to a lesser degree the border patrol are cause of most of the damage. And beyond environmental damage, these two groups cause real stress on the O'Odham. It is not unusual for tribal members to be stopped regularly for just trying to go about their business by the border patrol. Agents are stationed all over the reservation and within a 20 min. drive I spotted over 15 border patrol vehicles. The reservation has become militarized because of the war on drugs, and the O'Odham are suffering for it. So when someone promises to increase security on the border the O'Odham will pay the price.