Previous discussion has covered whether Arizona's new immigration law is more Chinese in its inspiration, or in fact more French. Here, which includes links to earlier items. Now, thanks to Robert Mintz, whom I've known since we both survived the smoggy SoCal of the 1960s (and a simultaneous note from Joseph Hearst), literary evidence on the French side.
It's a passage from a 1930s-era essay by James Thurber, called "Wild Bird Hickcock and His Friends." Thurber loved reading French pulp-novel versions of American Westerns, and he described one of them thus:
There were, in my lost and lamented collection, a hundred other fine things, which I have forgotten, but there is one that will forever remain with me. It occured in a book in which, as I remember it, Billy the Kid, alias Billy the Boy, was the central figure. At any rate, two strangers had turned up in a small Western town and their actions had aroused the suspicions of a group of respectable citizens, who forthwith called on the sheriff to complain about the newcomers. The sheriff listened gravely for a while, got up and buckled on his gun belt, and said, "Alors, je vais demander ses cartes d'identité!'' There are few things, in any literature, that have ever given me a greater thrill than coming across that line.
Thurber's essay does not seem to be available online, but this passage shows up in many places.