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Census goofed, Hispanics charge

The United States Census Bureau may have to stand up and be counted. Eight Hispanic-American organizations based in Chicago filed suit here Thursday charging that the 1980 census is leaving large numbers of Hispanics uncounted, Monitor correspondent Jonathan Harsch reports.

The class-action lawsuit filed in Federal District Court is supported by the National Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, headquartered in San Francisco. Robert Ruiz, a fund attorney, expects that similar legal action may be necessary in California and Texas areas where he says there have been serious undercounts of Latinos.

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The fund charges that across the country large numbers of census forms addressed to people in Hispanic areas were never delivered and that entire blocks of buildings housing Hispanics never appeared on the Census Bureau's master mailing list. The Chicago suit charges that Census Bureau officials failed to send out forms or census takers despite repeated requests.

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