Anti-death penalty advocates are turning up the pressure on President Biden to abolish the federal death penalty.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and several civil rights organizations are urging President Biden to commute all 49 federal death row inmates sentences to life in prison.
They also want the President to dismantle the federal death chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana where 13 executions were carried out between July of 2020 and January 2021.
“We think it is important during this early period of the Biden Administration to remind him of what authority he has, given that Congress is required to pass legislation to end the federal death penalty,” said Kristina Roth, senior advocate for criminal justice programs at Amnesty International.
In 2019, New York Democratic Congressman Adriano Espaillat introduced a bill to abolish the federal death penalty.
“It will ensure that anyone still on federal death row will be resentenced,” said Espaillat. “And it really goes through the United States federal criminal code. The Immigration and Nationality Act, the Controlled Substance Act and the uniform code of military justice, and removes any all provisions of capital punishment.”
Espaillat said he’s concerned with the disproportionate amount of African-American and Hispanic inmates executed by the government.
If Biden ends the death penalty with an executive order, instead of an act of Congress, it can be reinstated by future presidents.
As a candidate, Biden campaigned against the federal death penalty.