Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks about travel bans and security

This made the deal with the United States a decent compromise between Australia's hardline stance and the potential for those found to be refugees being resettled in a country with the resources to absorb them, after a previous deal with Cambodia failed.

Mr Turnbull struck a "one-off" deal with former United States president Barack Obama in November to resettle refugees detained on Manus and Nauru in the US.

Mr Spicer said the deal dealt with 1250 people, mostly being held in Papua New Guinea.

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop spoke with Vice President Mike Pence last week shortly before it emerged that President Trump would retain the agreement he inherited from Mr Obama.

'Part of the deal is they have to be vetted in the same manner that we are doing now. Of these refugees, Iranians comprise the largest group, with a significant number of Iraqi, Sudanese and Somalis also among the detainees.

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The news came as Trump's executive order on immigration saw the country's entire refugee program suspended and a 90-day ban put in place for citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Monday's confirmation surprised and angered many politicians, coming as the U.S. toughens its stance on Muslim immigration, as most of the asylum seekers involved in the deal with Australia are Muslims from the Middle East, Africa and Asia. There are a small number of Syrians.

This was despite the "one-off" deal with former President Barack Obama in November to resettle refugees detained on Manus and Nauru in the US. Guardian Australia cited sources on Manus as saying that further vetting could take from six to twelve months and that only those who qualify as refugees will be considered.

But questions remain over how many refugees will be resettled in the United States, with humanitarian organisations fearing that numerous 1,100 refugees in offshore detention will not be accepted, leaving them in limbo. Then the American government will decide, once they have reviewed the cases, how many people they will take.