The Senate voted along party lines Wednesday afternoon to dismiss the House’s impeachment case against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Within a few hours, congressional Republicans’ yearlong effort to investigate and hold President Joe Biden’s appointee accountable for the crisis of illegal immigration at the southern border ended.

“Democrats concluded that Joe Biden and Alejandro Mayorkas’ defying federal law, ignoring the text of the [immigration] statute, deliberately releasing criminal illegal aliens over and over and over again, that’s just hunky-dory,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said.

Cruz warned that Democrats’ dismissal of the case sends a message to other Biden Cabinet members to ignore the law.  

“It is no longer impeachable in Democrat wonderland when a member of the executive branch openly defies the law,” the Texas Republican said.  

By a vote of 51-48, the Senate rejected the House’s first article of impeachment against Mayorkas, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., voting present. The Senate then voted 51-49 to reject the second charge against Biden’s homeland security secretary.  

With three independents who vote with them, Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate.

The House adopted the two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in February. The first alleged that he failed to secure America’s border and enforce immigration laws. The second alleged that he breached public trust and knowingly made false statements to Congress.  

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said a Senate trial of the case wasn’t necessary because it represents “the least legitimate, least substantive, and most politicized impeachment trial ever in the history of the United States.” 

“The charges brought against Secretary Mayorkas fail to meet the high standards of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Schumer said. “To validate this gross abuse by the House would be a grave mistake and could set a dangerous precedent for the future.”  

However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., disagreed with his Democrat colleagues.

In a speech on the Senate floor immediately after the votes, McConnell told colleagues that “it does not make any difference whether our friends on the other side thought [Mayorkas] should have been impeached or not.”

“He was. And by doing what we just did, we have in effect ignored the directions of the House, which were to have a trial,”  the Kentucky Republican said. “This is a day that’s not a proud day in the history of the Senate.”

After the vote, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, lamented on the Senate floor that “nothing like this has ever occurred.”  

“We’ve been given a duty, we’ve been given the sole, exclusive power to try all impeachments. Try all impeachments,” Lee stressed. “Not some of them, not just those with which we happen to agree, not just those that we are happy that the House of Representatives undertook to prosecute, but all.”

The Senate’s dismissal of the case against Mayorkas comes after Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee conducted about a dozen hearings examining Mayorkas’ handling of border security and published six reports condemning the Department of Homeland Security chief for it.

“The Senate had an obligation to conduct a full trial, hear the evidence, and render a verdict,” Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said in a written statement after the upper chamber dismissed the case. 

“However, just as Secretary Mayorkas has grievously failed in his constitutional duty, now so has the Senate,” Green said. “Instead of addressing the serious charges against Secretary Mayorkas, the upper chamber has chosen to neglect its responsibility. This is an unprecedented failure by the Senate to do its duty, which, for the first time in our history, has outright refused to conduct an impeachment trial when given the opportunity to do so.”