US President Donald Trump has praised Hungary's hardline authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán as a leader respected throughout Europe who kept his country safe with his crackdown on immigration.

"Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways," Mr Trump told reporters ahead of Oval Office talks with the controversial prime minister.

"Respected all over Europe," Mr Trump said, adding: "Probably like me a little bit controversial, but that's okay. You've done a good job and you've kept your country safe."

Mr Trump gave Mr Orbán a warm welcome at the White House, where they were planning discussions on European regional issues, NATO, energy and trade.

The two share similar stances on immigration and both are critics of NATO and the European Union.

"I know he's a tough man, but he's a respected man, and he's done the right thing, according to many people, on immigration," Mr Trump added.

"You look at some of the problems they have in Europe that are tremendous, because they have done it a different way than the prime minister."

The one-on-one talks with Mr Trump offer the eurosceptic Orbán a podium less than two weeks before EU parliamentary elections.

"I would like to express that we are proud to stand together with the United States on fighting against illegal migration, on terrorism and to protect and help the Christian communities around the world," Mr Orbán told reporters.

Mr Trump replied: "You have been great with respect to Christian communities. You have really put a block up, and we appreciate that very much."

Mr Orbán has often had conflicts with the European Union over his anti-immigration campaigns and judicial reforms.

In 2017, Hungary's parliament approved the systematic detention of all asylum seekers in a move that has drew criticism from human rights groups and the UN.