White House Chief of Staff, retired Marine General John Kelly signed a memo authorizing some of the service members stationed at the US-Mexico border to take on law enforcement roles as well as giving the authority to use lethal force if necessary.

The memo was signed late Tuesday night and already has legal experts trying to determine if it violates the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the military from engaging in law enforcement on US soil.

US military forces have always had the right to self-defense, but the defense of the border agents on American soil is something that has not been questioned legally before.

The 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. was originally intended to protect the states from being controlled by federal troops.

Legal experts say even if troops at the border partake in crowd control and detention of illegal immigrants they could be in conflict of the act.

The “Cabinet Order” did not come from the President but from Kelly himself and authorizes military personnel to “perform those military protective activities that the Secretary of Defense determines are reasonably necessary.”

This includes but is not limited to “a show or use of force (including lethal force, where necessary), crowd control, temporary detention. and cursory search.”

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