Nauru refugees face separation from family in US deal

Refugees on Nauru have been told by Australian Border Force officials that they must separate from their wives and children to apply for resettlement in the US.

The Guardian reported that Iranian refugee Arash Shirmohamadi has been told he must relinquish custody of his Australia-born baby girl in order to apply for resettlement.

Both Mr Shirmohamadi's wife and his child, who he has never seen in person, are in detention in Brisbane.

Recordings of phone conversations and an email chain indicate the ABF was pressing for family separation for refugees who the US was lining up for resettlement.

US Immigration officials who were last week on Nauru told about 70 refugees they would be resettled in America.

The resettlement is part of an agreement between Canberra and the former Obama administration for the US to take up to 1250 refugees from Australian offshore detention.

So far only 54 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru have moved to the US.