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The Tohono O’odham area and for that matter, the southern Arizona Desert has become almost a second home during my 8 years at Fox. This includes 5 trips to the lawless border town of Sasabe, patrolling with the federal agents on horseback, reporting on immigration stories with the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation, among at least 60 other reports I have covered in this border region. Night, day, winter, summer, we have seen the desert and this battle in every form and just when it seemed to be getting better, it has taken a turn for the worse.

For anyone who hasn’t yet seen the beauty in this part of America, I can attest it is nothing like you have every seen before. The sky spreads across the horizon, only broken by the jagged edges of worshiped mountains. This lush, rich desert full of cacti and flowers, provides refuge for reptiles, thousands of birds, coyotes, foxes and mammals galore. While I have seen much of this beauty, not one of my trips was to showcase this once great vacation locale.

From above the damage to the environment alone couldn’t be more evident. Human trails are carved into the desert ground and piles of trash speckle the desert seemingly under every blade of brush, fallen tree, or dry creek bed. In some areas water stations have been set-up by volunteers to try and save some of the hundreds who succumb to this arid and unforgiving landscape. The cartels also have their markings, in some areas tying empty plastic jugs to desert plants marking the way northward.

Agents here use whatever they can to try and plug this massive hole, from horseback to lasers, everything possible is deployed and used throughout this rugged terrain and they do this job to the absolute best of their ability. It might seem easier to someone living much further north, but once you come here, you realize that from the mountains to the cacti-filled desert, to the every changing land, stopping the flow entirely is impossible…especially when just on the other side of the border everything has been set to provide for those going north.

This first-hand account works with my exclusive report on and these are some of the pictures I have taken in the area over the years. by Adam Housley

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