Asylum seekers on Nauru who are applying to settle in the United States under a refugee swop deal said that planned second-round interview dates with visiting United States officials had been postponed indefinitely.
Australia's prime minister on Wednesday would not say how many refugees from Pacific island camps would be resettled in the United States after President Donald Trump's administration said "extreme vetting" would be used to check their cases.
Trump reportedly characterized a previous US-Australia refugee resettlement agreement as "dumb", and stated the conversation was the worst among several calls with foreign leaders he had that day.
It said Trump had told Turnbull it was his "intention" to honour the agreement.
U.S. media reports say Trump insisted it was a very bad deal for the USA to take 2,000 refugees and that one of them was going to be the "next Boston bomber".
On Wednesday, Trump criticized the previous administration's agreement with Australia and said the USA wouldn't commit to honoring it. Trump also addressed the issue during his speech Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast.
Mr Turnbull said he was disappointed details of the call, which he described as "very frank and forthright", had been made public.
In the phone call that was originally planned for an hour but was then reportedly cut short abruptly after twenty-five minutes, Trump reportedly accused Australia of seeking to export the "next Boston bombers" and referred to the asylum seekers as "illegal immigrants". It's time we're gonna be a little tough, folks.
According to the Washington Post, in his phone call with Mr Turnbull, Mr Trump called it "the worst deal ever". After contents of the conversation leaked, the White House tried to fix the damage, telling CNN it had been "a long day" and that "fatigue was setting in" for Trump.
"Australians know me very well". Numerous refugees held there come from Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Sudan - among the seven countries whose citizens Trump's executive order bans from entering the U.S for the next 90 days. State Department insisted the refugee deal was still on.
Early on Wednesday, the White House issued a statement saying Trump was considering whether to honour the deal.